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Preface 1 

Forebears of James Millikin 3 

Sources of the name Millikin 3 

Migrations to England and Scotland 3 

The Millikins in Ireland 5 

Preserve purity of blood 6 

The Millikins in America 6 

Lineage of our James XI 6 

Letter from James I 

James Millikin II 97 

Dolly McFarland '. 9, 11, 97 

Abel Millikin III 11 

Patent for the Millikin homestead in Penn 10 

Abel Millikin's Family 12 

James Millikin XI, Life story 13 

Aston, Rev. Samuel M 21. 63 

Ashton, Anna Bernice, Mrs. James Millikin 16, 63 

Boston, data in Public Library 25 

Burglar episode 90 

Camp Meetings at Ten-Mile 24 

Origin Pleasant Hill Church 19 

Pastors of same 21 

Clarkstown , 19 

Clarksville 18 

Dolly McFarland, Abel III mother . 11 

Evans, William, owner Millikin Homestead 19 

Florida, the Millikin's Winter home 27 

Last trip to it 28 

Genealogy — Millikin book 25 

Kennedy, Joan M 16, 98 

The McFarlands 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 22, 24 

The Machans , 11 

James Millikin XI 13, 15 

Birth and boyhood 13. 15 

Other members of his father's family 9, 10 

Becomes a banker 27-47 

Coat of Arms 24 

Drives stock to New York 13 

Drives sheep to Indiana 26 

Education 15 

Extracts, Washington College Catalog 15, 25 

Locates in Danville 26 

Moves to Decatur 27 

Marries Miss Aston 26 

Founding of the University 51 


His vow 16, 51 

Proposition to establish it 53 

Proposition accepted 54 

Charter secured 57 

Erection of buildings 59 

Laying of cornerstone 59 

Dedication, Roosevelt 59 

Pleasure at its growth 86 

Growth of banking business 47 

Illness and death 28 

Reception of body at home 32 

Interment at Decatur 32 

Extracts from city papers 29 

Estimate in Fifty Years of Banking 48 

Testimonials of friends and associates 32-36 

Resolutions of College Boards and Students 39-40 

Personal characteristics 41 

Politics 89 

Benefactions , 43 

Reflections 27 

Start in stock-trading 13 

Ten-mile drive 21, 22, 30 

Interview there with Evans, etc 20 

Session minutes, Pleasant Hill Church 19 

Trustees of Millikin Estate 44 

Van Dyke, Nancy, first wife Abel Ill's, mother James XI. . . 9 

Wabash College 16 

Washington College 15 

Washington Seminary 16 

Ulster, home of James Millikin I 6, 7 

Biography of Mrs. James Millikin 63 

Sketch of her father's life 63 

Ancestry . 67-68 

Comes to Mt. Zion, Illinois 64 

Education 16 

Courtship and Marriage 64 

Family Life 66 

Philanthropies 67 

Anna B. Millikin Home 68-69 

Art Interests 71 

Aston Hall 71 

Art Institute 71 

Last illness and death 73 

Development of Art Institute 75 

Miscellany 85 

Joan Kennedy and relatives 98 

Judge N. C. McFarland 99 

James Millikin McFarland 8, 100 

His library 101 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

CARLI: Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois 

By Albert R. Taylor, Ph. D., LL. D., L. H. D. 

First President of the James Millikin University 
1901-1913, 1915-1919, 1924 


The Life Story 


James Millikin founder 


The James Millikin University 

Published under the auspices of 
the Graduating Class of the 
Quarter-Centennial Year as an 
Expression of Appreciation 

"Si Monumentum Requiris, Circumspice!" 



Interesting accounts of Mr. Millikin's life after his arrival 
in Illinois have been published from time to time in the De- 
catur papers and in local biographies, the most reliable on 
the business and community side being that issued after his 
death by the board of directors of the Millikin National Bank 
under the title "Fifty Years of Banking — A Brief Sketch of 
the Millikin Bank of Decatur." 

In response to the frequently expressed desire of many 
of his personal friends and the officials of the institution bear- 
ing his name as well as of the trustees of his estate, this more 
elaborate, tho still somewhat condensed story of his life is 
written in connection with the origin and founding of the 
James Millikin University. 

This has been done with several objects in view, one of 
them being to trace his genealogy as far as possible to dis- 
cover the influences in his ancestry and environments that may 
have made him the man he was and that induced him to con- 
secrate his energies and his fortune to the establishment of 
an institution of learning in his adopted city of such an ad- 
vanced type and which was soon to become the model for 
many others throughout the country and which together with 
the score of modern State Universities soon resulted in the 
re-organization of secondary education along comprehensive 
and popular lines. 

The data for the early life were gathered chiefly by me 
from local sources at his home community in Pennsylvania 
by personal visitation and investigation as explained in the 
text later. Due credit is given to the other sources from which 
important data were obtained. 

My quite intimate association with him thru the years 
in which the details of the organization of the University 
were worked out and thru the half dozen years of its insti- 
tution and development, enable me to speak of many phases 

[ 1 ] 


of his personal character and of his ideals and motives which 
he even feverishly longed to see given expression in its con- 
duct, enables me to speak with a definiteness and an assur- 
ance that will, I trust, be of great value to those entrusted 
with its future management in the more intelligent and the 
larger development of its usefulness in the sphere to which 
it was consecrated. 

It is hoped that its perusal will prove an inspiration and 
a quickening impulse alike to young and old, stimulating 
larger vision and unselfish servcie. 

I desire to express my heart-felt obligation to the Gradu- 
ating Class of this Quarter-Centennial College year for its gen- 
erous co-operation in assuming the publication and distribu- 
tion of this memorial sketch of its founder. 


GENEALOGISTS have, generally speaking, been at 
much pains to trace the sources and modifications of 
ancestral names, and the efforts to untangle many of 
them have been quite ingenuous and successful. The ety- 
mology of most of them is not without considerable interest. 

The sources of the name Millikin are found in Normandy, 
Saxony and the Netherlands, whence came many immigrants 
into England and Scotland in the Norman invasion. Among 
those bearing its different forms and orthographies were many 
distinguished men ranking high before and after finding 
homes on the British Isle. A very large percent of them 
settled in Cumberland, Northumberland and adjacent counties 
in the Southwestern part of Scotland, where they are still 
numerous and influential. 

One authority thinks Millikin is the diminutive for Miles 
and another that Milligan is of Gaelic origin ; still another 
that it is an early Scotch form derived from Mil (milk) and 
Kine (cow), for they were dairymen — Milligan and O'Milli- 
gan give in corrupted form Millikin, another authority holds. 
Another form is Millican, which however is not Scotch. Other 
primitive forms are Mullikine, Milliken, etc. 

The settlers bearing some form of the name coming to 
America are quite well scattered throughout the United States, 
though earlier they settled in New Hampshire, Massachusetts 
and Pennsylvania, some of them bringing another spelling, 

In the locality where our James Millikin was born in 
Pennsylvania are found Millikens, Milligans, Millikins, et al. 
In referring to them as a class, I shall use the spelling with 
which we are familiar, though recognizing the fact that all 
using it are probably not of common origin. 

The objects of the quest I made in the East were to dis- 
cover the inheritance of our patron that may have prompted 

[ 3 ] 


him to live the life he lived and to make the noble contribu- 
tion to the cause of Christian education which bears his name. 

While there are cases in which the trend in the lives of 
men, great and small, cannot easily be accounted for, they 
are the exceptions rather than the rule, hence the encourage- 
ment to seek the forces in inheritance and environment which 
conspire to influence the lives of men and women for weal 
or woe. 

These Millikins in Scotland were Presbyterians of the 
most consecrated religious type, suggestive of the New Eng- 
land Puritans, stalwart Christians seven days in the week 
and 365 days in the year. They read God's Law in his writ- 
ten word and observed it punctiliously. Their shepherds car- 
ried the Bible with them in tending their flocks on the hills 
and found time to study it reverently and digest it as they 
did their daily bread. So for twenty generations they have 
zealously preserved the faith of their fathers. 

It will help to understand the difficulties in the way of 
the colonization of those Presbyterian Scotch people in Ire- 
land by quoting a little historical note concerning their recep- 
tion by the Irish Catholics in the province of Ulster. 

"It should be kept in mind that these Catholics had 
been dispossessed of their lands and homes by the kings and 
that they were naturally very hostile to the newcomers. Not 
only were the owners themselves disgruntled, but their sons 
who would soon inherit the estates took to the woods in the 
hiding places in the wilderness, and engaged in all sorts of 
conceivable forays, driving away the horses and cows of the 
newcomers, burning their crops and buildings, and treating 
their wives and daughters with shameful indignity. The per- 
secution was unrelenting. They formed a company in 1640 
aimed at the extinction of all Protestants in Ireland and forty 
thousand were suddenly massacred in different sections of the 
country. No condition, no age, no sex was spared, and death 
was the slightest infliction in many cases. All the tortures 
that wanton cruelty could devise, all the lingering pains of 
body, the anguish of mind and the agonies of despair could 
not satisfy the revenge of the Irish. 

"At length Cromwell avenged the blood of the slaught- 
ered saints and crushed the insurrection." 

"In 1680, however, their oppressions became more intol- 
erable until the emigration of the Scotch families ran up into 

[ 4 ] 


thousands, coming to America, scattering along from Penn- 
sylvania through into the Carolinas. The others migrated 
to Scotland, many still clinging to their lands and homes 
remained in Ireland, and became progenitors of those sturdy 
Milliken and Milligan families who now inhabit the green 
hills and cultivate the broad farms of Antrim, Armagh, 
Down and Londonderry." Time, however, assuaged the 
bitter antagonisms and horrors of these turbulent revolutions 
of the seventeenth century, but the solidarity Scotch element 
dominating Ulster gradually assured tranquility and pros- 
perity which has become the theme of story and of song 
typical of ideal peasantry and happiness. 

And yet though now living several generations more 
peaceably related there has always been an inherited suspicion 
which has kept both factions very watchful of each other. 
In this is the explanation of the persistent refusal of the Ulster 
Scotch to become a part of the Free State government with 
the consequent friction and occasional frays with which we 
are now familiar. 

A small colony of Millikins seems to have settled quite 
early in Ireland. In 1603 King James I endeavored to rein- 
force them by offering inducements to Scotch Presbyterians 
to migrate to some six counties in the province of Ulster, 
among them being counties Down, Dromore, Antrim, etc. 
A few families responded to his offers, but Charles I espe- 
cially desiring to reinforce his protestant constituency there 
increased the inducements sufficiently to attract a large num- 
ber of them to join those already there demonstrating the 
fertility of the soil and the healthfulness of the climate. 

They were industrious, frugal, wide-awake, peace-loving, 
loyal men and women, farmers and stock-raisers predominat- 
ing among them. They soon led in propagating the finer 
breeds of horses, cattle, hogs and sheep, and Ulster became 
one of the most prosperous and wealthy of the Irish provinces. 

The Irish population being so largely Roman Catholic, 
the Scotch immigrants were as prejudiced against them as 
were the Jews in settling Palestine. So tenacious were they 
of preserving the purity of their Scotch blood that inter-mar- 
rying was successfully prohibited. Macaulay supports the 
statement that consequently there was no srch resultant class 

[ 5 ] 


as the Scotch-Irish in reality for these loyal, pious Scotch did 
not have a drop of Irish blood in their veins. They spoke a 
different language, sprang from different stocks. They not 
only spoke the unalloyed Scotch dialect but transmitted it 
conscientiously to their children. 

James Millikin, of the Hamilton branch, of Ohio, writing 
of his grandfather, who came to Pennsylvania from Dromore, 
County Down, Ireland, about 1760, says: 

"He disliked to be called an Irishman for he insisted 
that he was of pure Scottish blood. He used the broad 
language spoken by the Lowland Scotch peasantry and sang 
Scotch songs as he sat at his loom, as they did in other 
States. They were a peculiar and royal race, truthful, God- 
fearing, honest, loyal, unafraid of death — these were their 
birth-marks, great soul features. These Ulster folk have 
always insisted that 'We are no Irish but Scoatch'." 

These Millikins of varying orthography have several dif- 
ferent coats of arms, most of them with certain suggestive 
resemblances. One of them is surmounted by a Knight's 
head-piece with visor capped by a lion rampant. Two similar 
lions occupy the upper field and one the lower field of the 
tablet divided by horizontal bars. Ornamental foliations hang 
from fore and rear of headpiece to the upper corners of the 
tablet. The most common motto is "Regarde Bien" — Esteem 
the good. 

The Millikins in New England and New York were quite 
prominent in the business world, building mills, factories, 
etc.. and active in promoting community enterprises nearly 
everywhere they settled. They were patriotic citizens, twelve 
of them in the Revolutionary Army, and sixteen were on the 
pension list from the War of 1812. 

A James Millikin fell mortally wounded at Bunker Hill, 
dying in prison at the age of twenty. Their names are fre- 
quently found in the army records of the Mexican war and 
of the Union Army in the Rebellion of 1861-4. 

The lineage of our James Millikin XI has been verified 
from satisfactory data for nearly two hundred years. James 
Millikin I, great-grandfather of our James Millikin XI, was 
born in Ireland in 1737. He died at Dromore, County Down, 


Province of Ulster, Ireland, May 12, 1789. His wife was 
Martha Hemphill, born 1729 and died May 12, 1800. Letters 
to relatives in 1786 confirm the impression that their later years 
were spent at or near Dromore. From the tone of the sub- 
joined letter to his sons he appears to have been a godly man. 
There were no less than nine children in this family, but 
we have not been able to gain much reliable information con- 
cerning some of them. The names were as follows : James, 
William, John, Mary, David, Martha, Samuel, Nancy, and 

Dromore, Ireland, June 22, 1786. 
Dear Son James — Having the opportunity of a bearer 
I think it my duty to let you know that we are in a merciful 
state of health at present, and thanks be to God for His 
mercies to us, hoping these lines will find you in the same. 
We received five letters from you in one day, one from your 
father-in-law, one from your wife, and another from your 
brother William, which was of a date of joy to us to hear 
from you all at once being alive after so long troublesome 
times in that country, for during those troubles my whole 
heart's desire and prayer to God was for you that ye might 
through His mercy be saved. Now I hope you have most 
partly through your troubles of war, that you will not be 
negligent, but sober and vigilant, never ceasing but pray- 
ing God who preserved you the bypast times from accidents 
and enemies. Do thou now. I pray to God to let no evil 
befall thee nor plague come near thyself. Because of Evil 
Doers neither be thou Envious against the workers of 
Iniquity, for they shall be cut down like grass and wither 
as the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good, so shalt 
thou Dwell in the land and verily thou shalt be fed. Be thou 
Stedfast in faith, you know the reward of being faithful unto 
Death, and that is a crown of glory or a promise of an 
heavenly inheritance for the which I hope you will walk 
circumspectly and worthy of the vocation where with you 
are called, keeping (the) unity of the Spirit in the Bond of 
peace. So this perhaps being my last opportunity that I'll 
get to write to you or any of yours, may the Lord with His 
mercies Bless you and cause Brotherly Love to continue 
amongst you and with His Grace Be daily present in your 
families and so be it. You are Desirous to know how I fared 
through the war. I answer you it was very Detrimental to 
us and (in) the most part of this County it Caused every 
kind of over Sea goods to be ill to purchase. Especially 


the tobacco, it was at the Rate of 4 pence per pound but it 
and several other Commodities is go to the old Rate again 
most partly. You Desired a little Before to send some Cloth- 
ing to you and that very year we had a great affliction and 
sickness and at the heels of that a great loss in this country 
came to 6s 6d per score but it Did not amount so that in 
this parish it was only 5s per score & 4s lOd and all other 
things too tedious now to mention. Conformably Dear like- 
wise. Now making this opportunity Serve in writing to 
your Brother Wm. as to you as (at this) time cannot afford 
writing Sepperately to himself you will be careful to Re- 
member our love to him and his family. Your sister Mary 
Remains still unmarried and lives always with us. Your 
brother David and your Brother Samuel was in the thought 
of going to that country this Summer but they have ad- 
journed it to the next Spring. Samuel thought he was not 
learned enough to go into that Country. He intends Con- 
tinuing at School this year yet for he means making his 
Bread on that Calling; your uncle James Hemphill was very 
despleased that you did not write to him separately in you 
letters he in now got to be a man of great oppulence and 
wealth him and his children they have purchased Several 
States as we call them farms, he has a farm you know of 
his own in Calmore well has now one in Claggon another 
(in) Lartmally and he intends sending one of his Sons to 
that Country to buy another of your father-in-law, his chil- 
dren are all unmarried and your aunt Jennet Hemphill Died 
six years ago. So I add no more but remain your Dutiful 
father till Death. James Millikin. 

P. S. — Be sure to Remember your Mother's Love and 
mine to our Brother Col. Daniel McFarland and his Family. 

James Millikin II, son of the foregoing, was born Janu- 
ary 5, 1752, in County Antrim, Ireland. He married Dolly 
McFarland, who was born March 31, 1776, died July 30, 1837. 
She was the daughter of Colonel Daniel McFarland and Sarah 
Gray McFarland, a Revolutionary soldier who commanded 
Monongahela and Ohio Counties, now in Southwestern Penn- 
sylvania, as stated in a letter and certificate among the papers 
of James Millikin McFarland of Topeka, Kansas, submitted 
to support his application for membership in The Sons of 
the American Revolution. Daniel was born at Worcester, 
Mass., September 9, 1731, and died at Washington, Pennsyl- 
vania, December 14, 1817. 


This Dolly McFarland Millikin, Abel's mother, was a 
woman of unusual personal character and no small attain- 
ments. She was educated in Scotland and held a certificate 
and a license to practice mid-wifery. Her clientele in Penn- 
sylvania was limited only by her power of endurance. Her 
church affiliation was Scotch-Presbyterian. Her husband, 
James Millikin, Abel's father, was a mild-mannered man of 
gentle ways, and it is recorded that in defiance of all remon- 
strance from him she rode a magnificent stallion, being known 
as a daring horse-woman — as well as a renowned medical 

"Do we wonder that this superb woman gave four 
most notable sons to the medical world — that her mantel has 
descended to the second, third, and fourth generations and 
that today Dr. Neil Millikin of the fifth, after seven years 
of untiring special preparation in the finest medical institu- 
tion in America now enters the profession with every assur- 
ance of a notable career?" 

With such a heritage and an only brother also a physi- 
cian, is it not surprising that James Millikin was able to stem 
the current in the same direction for himself and not also 
follow the others into the medical profession as his father is 
understood to desire? But Providence seems to have had 
another field for him whereby he would eventually become 
even more useful to the world than his kindred who followed 
his grandmother Dolly's footsteps in medicine. That vow 
in his sophomore year in Washington College drove him 
into the world of finance and eventually into the founding 
of a great institution of learning in the Mississippi Valley 
over sixty years later which will perpetuate his name and 
his life through all generations to come. 

Abel Millikin III, eighth son of James II, was born at 
Ten Mile, Washington County, Pennsylvania, April 28, 1799. 
He married Nancy Van Dyke on March 27, 1822. She died 
in the late forties in Pennsylvania and was probably buried 
in the Amity graveyard. She was the mother of our James 
Millikin XI and in platting an addition in West Decatur, 
later he named a street Van Dyke in her honor. She was 
also the mother of his brother, Samuel, and of his three 

[ 9 ] 


sisters; Sarah, who married Judge Noah C. McFarland of 
Topeka, Kansas, dying in 1862 at Hamilton, Ohio. The sec- 
ond sister, Anna, married William Braden of Indianapolis, 
who was a prosperous merchant. Both died in middle life. 
An only child, Mrs. Lizzie Hanna, still lives in Los Angeles, 
California. Her daughter, Mrs. Wm. E. Clark, lives at 411 
Forest Avenue, Oak Park, Chicago, 111. Nancy, the third 
daughter, died a short time previous to the date set for her 
marriage to a prominent attorney of Hamilton, Ohio. Samuel 
became a prominent physician at Hamilton, Ohio, but died 

James was much attached to these children of his sisters 
and personally contributed liberally to their need during his 
life time, leaving a generous annuity to James Millikin McFar- 
land in his will, and to Mrs. Elizabeth Braden Hanna. 

A fine tract of land was conveyed to William Millikin, 
Abel's uncle, by a patent from the Commonwealth of Penn- 
sylvania under date of August 30, 1792, he holding a warrant 
for the same under date of August 28, 1785. The patent was 
written on parchment and is such a curiosity in some ways 
that it is herewith given in full. The wax seal is practically 
gone, only one letter on it being visible. 

To all, to whom these presents shall come, Greeting. 
Know Ye, that in consideration of the monies paid by Wil- 
liam Millikin into the Receiver General Office of this Com- 
monwealth at the granting of the warrant hereinafter men- 
tioned and of the sum of One Pound fifteen shillings, and 
seven pence being aballance allowed him on the Receiver 
General Books pursuant to law, there is granted by the 
said Commonwealth unto the said William Millikin, a cer- 
tain tract of land Called "Wild Cat Den" situate on a small 
branch of the middlefork of ten mile Creek in Washington 
County. Beginning at a post thence by the claim of Lazarus 
Timmons South Sixty-three degrees, West One hundred and 
sixty-five perches apost thence by vacant land North one de- 
gree East one hundred and nineteen perches to a black Oak 
North fifty degrees East one hundred thirty-seven perches 
to a Chesnut Oak North ten degrees East thirty-nine perches 
to an Hickory north fifty-seven degrees East eighty-five 
perches to a White Oak thence by the claim of John Good- 

\ 10 1 


ens South eighty-six degrees East one hundred and fifty-five 
perches to an Hickory South eighteen degrees. East fifty- 
two perches to a Sugar tree and thence by vacant land South 
forty-eight degrees West Two hundred and sixty perches to 
the beginning, containing Three hundred and six acres, one 
hundred and five perches and allowance of six p. Cent for 
road, & Which said tract was surveyed in pursuance of a 
warrant dated 28 February 1785 granted to the said William 
Millikin with the appurtenance. TO HAVE AND TO 
HOLD the said Tract or parcel of land with the appurten- 
ances unto the said William Millikin and his heirs to the 
use of him, the said William Millikin his heirs and assigns 
forever, free and clear of all restrictions and reservations as 
to mines, Royalties, Quitrents or otherwise excepting and 
reserving only the fifth part of all Gold and Silver Ore for 
the use of this Commonwealth to be delivered at the Pitts- 
mouth clear of all charges. 

IN WITNESS whereof Thomas Mifflin, Governor of 
the said Commonwealth, hath hereto set his hand and caused 
the State Seal to be hereunto affixed the thirtieth day of 
August in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred 
and Ninety-two & of the Commonwealth the Seventeenth. 

Attest: A. I. DALLAS, Secretary. 

Enrolled in the Rolls office for the State of Pennsyl- 
vania in Pat book No. 20 — page 6. 

WITNESS my hand and seal of office the 30th day of 
August 1793. 


Abel Millikin III was a man of property, being rated as 
the richest man in the County, the net worth over $20,000 
probably. He was a farmer, stock raiser and dealer, handling 
thousands of cattle and other livestock. He lived in the orig- 
inal Millikin homestead at Ten-Mile, which his Uncle Wil- 
liam probably built soon after receiving his patent for the 
same in 1792 and which James II inherited or bought from 
him later. 

His mother, Dolly McFarland Millikin, made her home 
with him after his father died until her death in 1837. Abel 
was not only a man of affairs but a consecrated Christian 
gentleman of the highest type as shown in the records of the 
old Pleasant Hill Church mentioned elsewhere. 



After the death of his first wife, Abel Millikin moved to 
Hamilton, Ohio, where his four brothers had preceded him. 
He married Mrs. Joana McFarland Machan of Argenta, Illi- 
nois, on February 21, 1849, who died April 18, 1855. She 
was a relative of Noah C. McFarland of Topeka, Kansas, hus- 
band of our Mr. Millikin's sister Sarah. She was the mother 
of Robert Machan, a respected citizen of Argenta, Illinois, 
and during his later years a resident of Decatur, where he 
occupied positions of trust and was held in high esteem by 
all who knew him. A son of his, George Stover Machan, 
married Miss Isabel Thompson of Brunswick, Maine, on 
September 29, 1898. He died on April 6, 1901. She was a 
graduate of Wellesley College with successful experience as 
a teacher, and in 1902 was appointed by the President to a 
chair in the department of Ancient Languages in The James 
Millikin University, serving as Secretary in the office until 
its opening in September, 1903. For several years past she 
has been head professor in the department, a most efficient 
and popular 'instructor from the beginning. 

After Joana McFarland Machan Millikin's death, he mar- 
ried Emma Sackett, daughter of Dr. David G. Sackett and 
Martha Millikin, probably a cousin. About this time Abel 
and this third wife returned to Ten-Mile and both united 
with the Pleasant Hill congregation. She died in Pennsyl- 
vania, November 12, 1858. The remains of both these later 
wives mentioned lie in the family lot in Greenwood Cemetery 
at Hamilton, along with his own. Abel died April 6, 1865. 

I 12 


James Millikin XI was born August 2, 1827, in Clarks- 
town, now Ten-Mile. He married Anna B. Aston, daughter 
of Rev. Samuel M. Aston, January 1, 1857, at that time living 
near Mt. Zion, Illinois, and for awhile pastor of the Cumber- 
land Presbyterian Church in that town. He was pastor of 
the Millikin's Church at Ten-Mile, then Clarkstown, when 
James was in his early teens. 

There is very little data available about Mr. Millikin's 
early life, tho as a lad of eight he was the idol of his doting 
Grandmother, Dolly McFarland Millikin, and had many happy 
remembrances of special favors granted him by her. He 
probably was raised like most of the farm boys of that 
locality, working on the farm, herding sheep and cattle, which 
had a fair range at that time. He attended the district school 
in Winter, etc. That he read much and was an obedient, 
industrious youth like the Scotch boys in general seems 
unquestioned. He was a sturdy, aggressive fellow as shown 
in his driving flocks of sheep to Illinois when scarcely twenty. 
He and his sister Sarah joined the Pleasant Hill Cumberland 
Presbyterian Church on May 27, 1843. 

I am indebted to Mr. Chester Smith, now of Coronado, 
California, and his mother, Mrs. John E. Smith, for the fol- 
lowing item : 

"My father, John E. Smith, was a boyhood friend of 
James Millikin, the two living on adjoining farms on Ten- 
Mile Creek, Washington County, Pennsylvania. Mr. Mil- 
likin's elder brother, Samuel Millikin, taught the country 
school which both attended and were fast friends. In their 
young manhood they were much interested in stock-raising 
and at one time drove a herd of steers about five hundred 
miles to New York City, which was hardly equal in popula- 
tion to Decatur at this time. They drove them down Broad- 
way to the stock yards, and disposed of them there satis- 

[13 1 


Anent an item in a city paper some time since stating 
that they drove a bunch of steers to Philadelphia at one time, 
Chester writes me that he is positive about the New York 
trip and is inclined to think that there was another to Phila- 
delphia also, tho it is probable that they went through it on 
their way to New York, as others did to get information 
about both markets. 

"My father afterwards came to Danville, Illinois, with 
Mr. Millikin, where he engaged in the grain business for 
some time, but later moved to Decatur and entered the in- 
surance business, the intimacy between him and Mr. Milli- 
kin continuing thru life. 

"Mr. Millikin's office was in a small room in the back of 
the old bank building which he occupied until the present 
stately structure was erected. With other old-time friends, 
consisting mainly of my father and Silas Packard, and occa- 
sionally Jack Cloyd, James Hill, and Robert Machan, who 
made it their rendezvous, he often confided his purpose to 
build an industrial school for teaching young men to become 
good carpenters, brick masons, plumbers, etc. For at least 
ten years before he announced his plan of the University, he 
discussed its feasibility and gradually came to the conclusion 
to found a University w T hich would include the Liberal Arts 
along with the industrial and practical courses." 

Isabel Millikin, third daughter of James 2 (I), was born 
near Dromore, Ireland. She married John Harbinson of Penn- 
sylvania. Their third daughter, Nancy, married a Mr. Baird, 
whose son, John Baird, came to Illinois, settling near Decatur. 
They had a daughter, Margaret E. Baird, who married Dr. 
Silas E. McClelland of Decatur. They reside at 904 West 
William street. 

Mrs. McClelland thinks a relative of hers owned a large 
farm west of Philadelphia on the main road from West Penn- 
sylvania on which drovers came and went to New York with 
their herds, furnishing feed, water and pasture as needed. 
He may have been the Joseph Millikin who formerly came to 
Decatur to buy land in the West for an eastern syndicate. He 
was a cousin of her grandmother, and when on these expedi- 
tions usually made his home with our James Millikin in De- 
catur. It is therefore possible that our James Millikin and 



Mr. John E. Smith stopped on that farm a short time to rest 
up and refresh their stock on some of those trips. 

In his genealogy of the Millikins Ridlon states that Mr. 
Millikin was educated at home well enough to enter Wash- 
ington College. In the Autumn of 1846 the records state that 
he registered in the Preparatory and English Department. 
He was also registered as a special student in the Junior Class 
in the catalog for 1847-8. 

The following extracts from the catalog give a good idea 
of the organization and standards of that men's college three- 
fourths of a century ago. It is now the well-known Wash- 
ington and Jefferson College. 

The course of studies in the Academy and College for 
these years included English, Greek and Latin with Mathe- 
matics through Trigonometry and Calculus, Science through 
Astronomy, Geology, Chemistry and Mineralogy with much 
History, Philosophy, Constitutional Law and Greek Testa- 
ment on the Sabbath. Natural History. Surveying. Civil 
Engineering, Hebrew and German. 

In one of the notes it is stated "that young men often 
come prepared on parts of the Junior and Senior studies and 
who have neglected some of the Freshman and Sophomore 

"The mode of instruction in all of the departments of 
the college is designed to elicit the mental resources of the 
students, being conducted with a rigid attention to accuracy, 
but much more regard is paid to the quality than the quan- 

"Students are required to attend every morning the 
reading of scriptures and prayer accompanied frequently with 
religious instruction and exhortation designed to keep before 
their minds the importance of their personal salvation with 
their personal responsibility to God and dependance on him 
for success, happiness and usefulness. On Sabbath they are 
required to attend public worship as parents direct or they 
may prefer. There is also a meeting on Sabbath morning for 
prayer and for reading the New Testament in the original 

"Strict discipline is enforced and diligence and industry 
on the part of the students encouraged. They are permitted 
to study any particular branches desired. 

"There are three libraries of about three thousand vol- 



limes, a geological collection and a variety of antiquities, a 
telescope and philosophical and chemistry laboratories. 

"Boarding varies in price though as cheap as at any 
place in the West for the same quality. In the college it 
does not exceed $1.50 per week and in private clubs from 
$.50 to $.75 per week. The tuition is $15.00 per session, paid 
in advance. Washington excels in point of morals, cheap- 
ness, healthfulness of climate, and in every other respect; 
no place is more suitable for the purposes of education." 

It was while in attendance at that college that his sympa- 
thies were aroused by the struggles of the boys to secure 
funds to meet expenses and to overcome the inadequacy of 
their preparation for the classes they entered. Then and 
there, only twenty years of age, he made the vow that if ever 
he amassed a fortune, he would found an institution of learn- 
ing in which all classes of youth could secure an education 
fitting them for any occupation they might desire to enter, 
which was finally redeemed in 1901 in the James Millikin 
University. Mr. Millikin decided to continue his education, 
and President G. L. Mcintosh of Wabash College writes that 
its records show that he entered the second year of the Pre- 
paratory Department of that College, coming from Danville, 
Illinois. He was quartered in number twenty-one of the Col- 
lege dormitory. He also adds : "If I am correct in supposing 
that he was in the second year of the department, he would 
have had the first term Anabasis and exercises ; Cicero's ora- 
tions against Cataline; and Davies advanced Arithmetic and 
Davies Algebra. In the third term Virgil, six books; Ana- 
basis ; algebra finished. In addition there were weekly reci- 
tations in Latin and Greek, exercises written and oral. Also 
weekly exercises in composition and declamation, exercises 
in Orthography, Orthoepy and Grammatical Analysis in con- 
nection with recitations in the Rhetorical Reader." 

Miss Kennedy, however, writes that he entered Wabash 
for the purpose of completing his course in Latin begun at 
Washington College. 

Anna B. Aston, afterwards Mrs. James Millikin (XI), 
graduated at the Washington (Penn.) Female Seminary in 
June, 1854. She was preceded by Nancy V. Millikin, a sister 
of Mr. Millikin and Joana McFarland, both in the class of 

f 16 1 


1851. The latter married Mr. Machan, and after his death 
became the wife of Abel Millikin. 

Mrs. S. R. Hannah was the first principal serving from 
its founding, 1840 to 1874. At the time the above named 
were in attendance the Seminary occupied a very large and 
well equipped brick building, three stories, which is still in 
good repair and to which a fine addition has been erected 
with more modern furniture, etc. It is a very home-like place, 
but is in the heart of a crowded business section and hopes 
soon to locate farther out of the main portion of the city. 

The courses of study in the Seminary at that time in- 
cluded full courses in English, Geometry, Natural philosophy, 
elements of criticism, logic, evolution of Christianity, mental 
and moral philosophy, analogy of natural and revealed relig- 
ion, etc. 

"Government to a great extent is parental, its true spirit 
being republican, regulated by a system of laws cultivate the 
social nature of pupils. A constant interchange of views and 
feelings, friendly collision with mind, the occasions that are 
presented for practical lessons of self-denial and self-control, 
of self-respect and respect for others and the exercise of 
sympathy and affection all tend to the forming and develop- 
ment of those habits and feelings which should distinguish a 
social circle, all being secondary to higher duties of morality 
and religion, tending to the attainment of the responsibility 
and duties we owe each other as children of one common 
Father, and keeping in view the great end of all education, 
intellectual, social, and moral is to make us perform our 
duties to each other and to God." 

"Regular hours are devoted to study, recitation, exercise 
and devotion. Liberty of church attendance is allowed but 
others are required to attend with the family of the principal. 
Parents and guardians are earnestly requested not to furnish 
their daughters and wards with jewelry or needless articles 
of apparel." 

"The course of study is designed to be thorough. Par- 
ents should not hurry their daughters over the course, as the 
formation of superficial habits disqualifies them for the re- 
sponsibilities and enjoyments of life." 

"The health of scholars is constantly kept in view." 

"Many graduates go out to teach. An extensive field of 
usefulness is evidently opening to the female sex, justifying 
their parents in educating their daughters for that profession. 



An intelligent public may rest assured that the trustees will 
continue their unremitting exertions to deserve and main- 
tain the celebrity and usefulness which the Seminary has ac- 

These ideals of those early days are still controlling its 
management. The expense item is illuminating — "$55. per 
session of 12 weeks including bed, lodging and light plus 
$6.00 for the full winter session. $5 for washing, Tuition 
$16. per session; music, romance and German extra; Orna- 
mental needle work $8.00. $235.00 will pay for everything." 

In connection with the data given on the foregoing 
pages, I insert the memoranda of my trip East in September, 
1924, for the purpose of securing more original and veridical 
information for this memoir and which proved very illumin- 
ating and helpful in many ways, much of which has already 
been included in the text up to this point. 

Having had considerable correspondence with Mr. Sam- 
uel E. Taylor, President of the National Deposit Bank of 
Brownsville, Pennsylvania, the principal trading and shipping 
point of the Millikins, concerning the objects of my visit, I 
called on him at once after my arrival one afternoon and 
found him already supplied with valuable data for my quest. 
The next morning he drove me over to Centerville, my 
mother's old home, giving me the best part of a day for it, 
and advising routes, etc., for securing the information I desired 
at Ten-Mile and at Washington, Penn. 

He gave me the names of some old-timers in the city 
who might be of service to me and I spent the rest of the 
day in conferring with them, and though one of them was 
a Millikin, made little headway. I spent the evening in 
sketching County histories which gave me additional needed 

After a good night's rest I took a train for East Mills- 
boro, about ten miles up the river, and went over by ferry 
to Millsboro proper on the west side, just missing a train 
going up to Clarksville, three miles away, where I understood 
the Millikins in whom I was interested, had lived. I asked 
the postmaster to advise me about conveyance, and he said, 
"There is an auto out there driven by a Doctor Day of Clarks- 
ville and you undoubtedly can ride with him." He very 

r is i 


graciously invited me to do so and after making three or four 
calls among the hills we sped off to Clarksville. On the way 
we were quite chummy and he told me that he had a relative 
by the name of Day living in Decatur to whom I was given 
a message. He took me to his home and I had a royal dinner 
served by his interesting wife. 

He then sent me up street to interview a Reverend Dr. 
Cooper, who, he said, was the oldest patriarch in all that 
region and he was once pastor of the Millikin church, not 
there in Clarksville as I had been told, but a dozen miles 
away further up the creek at Clarkstown, now designated 
in the postal guide, however, as Ten-Mile. I soon was in a 
Ford with a sprinkle of rain increasing to a pour, winding up 
and down among and around the beautiful hills speedily 
enough for a Milburn electric driver. 

Dr. Cooper had given me the names of some old people 
to see at Clarkstown (Ten-Mile) and also some helpful sug- 
gestions about my method of procedure. Just as we neared 
the town, I saw to the left a stately brick house that was 
evidently built over a hundred years ago, perhaps more. It 
was in good repair and had wholesome and attractive sur- 
roundings. I said to the driver that I would venture to say 
that that was the Millikin homestead. It was facing Ten- 
Mile creek, perhaps two hundred and fifty feet away. Driv- 
ing down and over it, we turned to the right and stopped at 
a house of similar style and age. 

On entering, I told the lady of the house of our mission 
and asked her if she could tell me where the Millikin home- 
stead was. She replied that I had just passed it across the 
creek. I then asked her if she could tell me where I could 
get the records of the Pleasant Hill church, which was the 
Millikin church. She said that her husband was clerk of the 
session and that he had its complete records from the date 
of organization in 1832 up to the present time. It did not 
take me long to get them into my hands and to discover 
the names of Abel, James, and other Millikins, together with 
those of some of the MacFarlands on the list of members 
with the dates of membership, etc. 

She gave me the name of William Evans, who is con- 



nected with the MacFarland line, a couple of blocks away, 
who she said owns the old Millikin homestead and farm. 

Before going, however, I went back to the Millikin home 
and made a sketch of the different floors and rooms which I 
will work up later along with the little sketch of the build- 
ing from the outside. Suffice it to say now that there is a 
central hallway running through from the West to the East 
with a fine large room with a fireplace off on either side 
with counter-parts on the second floor above. I was greatly 
interested in the finish of the woodwork and the panels under 
the windows, together with the extremely attractive mantel 
piece on the south side of the living room, whose mantel 
rested on very small columns finished so nearly like those 
in the hallway in the Decatur homestead that I thought in- 
stantly that these were probably in his mind when approving 
the design for the latter. I was very much interested in the 
story and a half addition on the west accommodating the 
kitchen and a large sleeping room over it. 

On reaching the Evans home I found him a very delight- 
ful old gentleman and received a most courteous welcome. 
He had bought the Millikin farm several years ago and was 
keeping it and several others nearby which he owned in fine 
condition. Mr. Millikin drove those flocks of sheep from this 
farm to Illinois. I had not seen many sheep about and asked 
him whether they had been discarded. He said, ''Oh, no, 
there are a good many of them around here and I have two 
hundred grazing on that farm at times." 

With him I went through the lists of members of the 
old church which had been carefully kept, and sketched the 
minutes from the beginning up to this date. I found that 
a great camp meeting revival, in which there were a hundred 
conversions, had been held in the grove on Abel Millikin's 
farm, the preachers being missionaries from the Cumberland 
Presbyterian church, with many of whose names I have been 
acquainted from my boyhood, Rev. A. M. Bryan, John Mor- 
gan, et al. being among them. That meeting was held in 
1831, and another in the same place the following year, which 
resulted in a large number of additional conversions also. 
It also resulted in the formal organization of a large congre- 



gation for those days and Abel Millikin was elected one of 
the elders. Occasionally the religious services were held in 
his home — an exact date given was January 22, 1833. The 
minutes showed that he represented the church in at least 
a dozen meetings of Presbytery and Synod, so he must 
have been a very prominent man in his home church, and 
also in the larger judicatures which he attended. The other 
elders elected were Abner Clark and James Evans. A new 
brick church building was soon after erected. 

Our James and his sister, Nancy Millikin, were among 
those uniting with the church later. These records give 
many little side lights showing some of the problems which 
confronted those pioneers in their efforts to preserve the 
purity and efficiency of the congregation. There were some 
expulsions, among them being a Samuel Millikin admitted 
in 1834, against whom some serious charges were made, one 
of them being that he had unwarrantably slandered Abel Mil- 
likin. This action was taken May 27, 1843. Harrison Miller 
and Rebecca Whitely were suspended for immorality, others 
for betting on election, and some on "Common fame." 

Among the dismissals I found the name of Abel Millikin, 
who had moved with his wife to Ohio for awhile but returned 
and in December, 1859, with a letter from the Hamilton Pres- 
byterian Church was received into the Church membership 
again, together with his third wife. He was also reinstated 
in the eldership. 

Among those serving this church as pastors were such 
familiar historical names as Milton Bird, A. M. Bryan, John 
Morgan, Phil Axtell, S. M. Aston, S. E. Hudson (1842) 
and LeRoy Woods (1840). On September 29, 1840, Margaret 
Millikin was received into the church; on September 16, 1861, 
John and Emily Millikin were also received from the Center- 
ville Church. Rev. LeRoy Woods married Mrs. Taylor and 
myself, while S. E. Hudson had been our pastor for some time 
at our old home in Wenona, 111. Rev. S. M. Aston was the 
father of Mrs. Millikin. 

Mr. Evans showed me the original patent from the sov- 
ereign state of Pennsylvania (see copy on page 10). I tried 
to get an abstract from its issue down to the present time, 

[21 1 


but he told me that it is not the custom to make abstracts 
in transferring lands in Pennsylvania even now. He said, 
however, that the coal had been sold under the land and 
that the coal company had demanded an abstract from the 
date of the patent and that he had a copy of this one which 
was in his strong box in a vault at Washington. He thought 
I could possibly get the succession of owners in the records 
of that transfer there, which however I was unable to do. 

Though the land around Ten-Mile is very hilly and roll- 
ing, much of it is tillable ; the principal products being wheat, 
corn, oats, clover, timothy and alfalfa. Practically all except 
the first is used for feeding, though some little is shipped 
away. Orchard fruits grow abundantly. 

I learned from Mr. Evans that perhaps two years before 
a Colonel Bevans and his wife came there and made a good 
many inquiries about the Millikins and their properties, stat- 
ing that he had married into the family and was personally 
interested. He was evidently kindly received and they had 
been expecting to hear from him again. He gave his home 
as Washington, D. C. 

After a short speedy drive in another Ford, I took the 
train from Hackney Station, four miles away, and was soon 
in Washington, Pa., where I slept soundly thru the night in 
the new million dollar hotel. After breakfast I went over to 
the Washington Female Seminary, Mrs. James Millikin's 
alma mater. There stood the identical three-story and base- 
ment building, one hundred twenty-four feet long, which 
the school occupied as early as 1850. It was founded in 1835 
Samuel MacFarland being a trustee. The Secretary kindly 
placed herself at my service and we soon found catalogs of 
1851 and 1854, the former having the names of Sarah Milli- 
kin and Joanna MacFarland, and the latter of Anna B. Aston 
as graduates in those years respectively. No other informa- 
tion concerning them was available but I made a copy of 
the courses of study and the regulations governing the sem- 
inary at the time, from which I have quoted elsewhere. 

Of course, I was shown through the plant and was much 
impressed with its spirit and atmosphere as well as the excel- 
lent work which they are now doing. The secretary was 


extremely interested in the bits of life and the benefactions 
of Mr. and Mrs. Millikin, which I gave her, and asked for 
more details which she wished to print in the November 
issue of the Seminary monthly. 

I then went over to the Washington and Jefferson Col- 
lege a few blocks away. In the early years Jefferson and 
Washington Colleges were separate institutions of learning 
located at Canonsburg and Washington respectively. In 1865 
they were united after a very acrimonious contention on the 
part of some of the friends of the two colleges. The intense 
feeling then engendered has survived until the present day, 
so President Baker informed me, tho the modern generation 
has little sympathy with the antagonisms of the septuagen- 

I was soon supplied with the precious catalogs of 1846-7 
and 1847-8 in both of which I found the name of James Mil- 
likin, in the former as a student in the preparatory depart- 
ment, and in the latter as a junior, a dagger below indicating 
him as a special. 

Each of the two colleges grew out of classical schools 
organized as early as 1781, and they already had a long list 
of distinguished presidents, professors and alumni, which has 
been steadily increasing since their union. In 1906 I had 
the pleasure of attending" the quarter-centennial anniversary 
of the induction of its most distinguished President, Dr. 
James D. Moffatt, whose services did not end until eight 
years later. As the representative of the James Millikin 
University, I extended its greetings and explained its obliga- 
tions to 'his alma mater for the vigorous young institution 
in the West which bears his name — -tho Mr. Millikin had 
not given me a personal message, saying that no one there 
would remember him. Two white-haired old-timers among 
the alumni told me they thought they did, however. 

On the advice of a Philadelphia friend I visited the fine 
Historical Society Building in that city, where some valuable 
records are kept that I had probably not found elsewhere. 
In one volume I found many abstracts of Washington County 
wills of the early days. The only thing of interest in it, how- 
ever, was the name of Daniel McFarland attached to a will 



as a witness bequeathing some property to the trustees of 
the Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Ten-Mile. 

In another volume the records state that Colonel Daniel 
McFarland from Scotland, then still holding a commission 
in the Revolutionary army, had purchased 400 acres of land 
on Ten-Mile Creek. Another paragraph stated that William 
McFarland, son of the Colonel Daniel mentioned, was the 
father of James McFarland, who was the father of Judge N. 
C. McFarland of Topeka, Kansas. He had purchased that 
tract evidently in 1785. 

This record states that the McFarlands were very prom- 
inent in that community out there, taking an active part in 
maintaining high ideals in business and social life. James, 
the father of William, served as Justice of the Peace and" 
later as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington 
County. He is said to have influenced many people to settle 
their difficulties out of court, thus reducing costs and allaying 
animosities. Also that David Evans bought a farm of 399 
acres next to the lands of Robert Bennett, James Millikin and 
Daniel McFarland as surveyed under date of June 20, 1785. 
These same records note that Rev. James McGready, Cum- 
berland Presbyterian pioneer preacher in Washington County, 
was in missionary activities, especially on Ten-Mile Creek, 
holding camp meetings, probably on the farm of Abel Mil- 
likin mentioned elsewhere. 

These camp meetings were accompanied with great ex- 
citement and attracted immense crowds. W r ild rumors flew 
everywhere charging witchcraft. A certain magical powder 
was reported being used by the missionaries, which w T ould 
arouse strange physical gyrations on the part of many indi- 
viduals, so that the curious people avoided coming in per- 
sonal contact with the ministers lest some of it might fall 
on them producing similar effects. 

This record also mentions the arrival and admittance to 
Presbytery from Tennessee, of Rev. Samuel M. Aston, "a 
famous Cumberland Presbyterian preacher there." He was 
admitted to the First Presbytery constituted in May, 1832. 
P. H. Crider and Azel Freeman also became members of the 
same Presbytery, the latter afterwards becoming the first 

[24 1 


President of Lincoln University in Illinois, and the former 
pastor of the Mt. Zion, Illinois, church. The paragraph states 
that J. S. Keener was admitted as a licentiate. He came to 
Illinois in the latter part of the last century and was active 
in promoting the establishment of the James Millikin Univer- 
sity. He afterwards located in Decatur and engaged in the 
insurance business. 

The old country methods of punishment were in vogue 
in those days in that part of Pennsylvania, including the 
stocks, ducking stools, pillory, etc., even after the Revolu- 
tion. Money was greatly depreciated ; Andrew Heath bought 
$2000 Continental money for $307 in coin. Ten-Mile Creek, 
known also as McFarland Fork, empties into the Mononga- 
hela River at Millsboro. The hills on either side are of a 
rolling character and are cultivated to the tops. Thousands of 
sheep grazed among them. Washington was the largest 
wool-growing County in the State and second in the quality 
of its wool. Limestone and bituminous coal were found along 
many streams. These people were faithful in keeping their 
religious vows with great solemnity large numbers of Pres- 
byterians being among them. 

Ten-Mile village was founded by Dr. J. C. Millikin. Be- 
tween 1770 and 1790 much land was patented in that locality 
by James Millikin, Abel McFarland, and others. 

In the Boston Public Library I found a large and most 
complete volume on the whole Millikin tribe for some four 
hundred years. It was compiled by The Rev. Gideon Tibbetts 
Ridlon of Kizar Falls, Maine, and published by The Journal 
Press, Lewiston, Me., in 1907. It contains a several page 
biography with portrait and residence of our James Millikin 
XI. The data was evidently given by him and Mrs. Millikin, 
and ought to be reliable. A copy of it is said to have been in 
the Millikin library, but I was unable to find it after much in- 
quiry and correspondence. I have, however, since my return, 
found it in a private home in Decatur and it will be placed in 
the Art Institute. 

It was while in Washington College, that our James Mil- 
likin became interested in the attractive stories of the great 
opportunities in the middle West, especially in Indiana and 



Illinois. He succeeded in convincing his father that they 
promised such large returns on investments that he con- 
sented to accompany him in the summer of 1849 — the two 
driving a flock of sheep into Indiana, which they soon sold 
at a good profit. 

Tho pleased with Crawfordsville, he drove the next flock 
in the Spring of 1850 to Danville, Illinois, where the market 
was better, bringing a much larger profit. 

After spending the winter in Wabash College, as else- 
where stated, he again, and for several years, returned to 
Pennsylvania for more sheep, disposing of them at still 
greater advantage to the Western farmers. He bought and 
traded in cattle also, renting tracts of grazing land and sell- 
ing his stock at profitable advances as they developed. His 
large flocks and herds gave him great prominence as a 
breeder of fine stock. He Avon six silver medal spoons which 
bear the stamp of the "Illinois State Fair 1857." Being a 
smart trader, and a man of vision, he was quick in seeing a 
future for Decatur, and soon after arriving here, purchased 
a tract of land west of Pine Street and North of Main, ex- 
tending west to what is now North Oakland Street. The 
fine old Millikin home, now the Art Institute, was erected 
on part of it in 1875. 

Soon after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Millikin jour- 
neyed to Iowa in a buggy, where in 1853, he had purchased 
a large tract of Government land, some thousands of acres, 
near Davenport, at one dollar per acre. Miss Kennedy writes : 

"Many who knew Mrs. Millikin will recall her habit of 
counting objects that interested her. In this Iowa trip the 
habit proved to be of value. A handkerchief tied to a spoke 
of a front wheel as they rode from corner to corner of their 
broad acres, was counted in its revolutions by her which was 
the means of testing approximately the correctness of the 
measurements of the original surveys. Mr. Millikin, with 
great pride, told me of this ingenuity and sagacity of his 

When Mr. Millikin moved to Decatur in 1856, he still 
had large investments in land and stock, but disposed of 
most of them in the next three years, including a valuable 



tract adjoining Bement, which the Wabash Railway wanted 
for its use. He is reported to have cleaned up approximately 
seventy-five thousand dollars, and was hesitating what to do 
next when he was invited to go into the banking business, 
which he did in 1860 under the name "James Millikin, Banker." 

As we reflect on the events in the life of this shepherd 
boy in his several trips to Illinois, driving flocks of sheep from 
his beloved hills in the land of his birth to what later became 
his home in the great West, we cannot but admire the cour- 
age and perseverance required in the long and tiresome jour- 
neys through a sparsely settled country, overcoming obstacles 
in the way of newly-blazed roads, unbridged streams and 
unfriendly people, upon whom he had to depend for forage 
and grazing, to say nothing of the watchful and sympathetic 
care required for the maintenance of the health of his sheep 
we have an assuring prophecy of success in a larger life 
later on. 

Only twenty years of age he starts on his first trip, little 
acquainted with the ways of the world outside his narrow 
home environments, he had vision and courage enough to 
induce his father to accompany him on his first trip, and then 
as a stranger in less than half a dozen years, trading with 
all classes of dealers, stock men and speculators, to amass 
a surprising surplus as the foundation for a princely fortune, 
reveals ability unusual and exceptional, his Scotch ancestry 
asserting itself thru it all. 

One cannot but wonder whether as he trudged along 
by day or in his vigils and dreams by night he was not fre- 
quently recalling his resolution on the campus at Washington 
College, and saw as the climax of all his labors and struggles, 
their fruition in a great institution in Oakland Park. 

It has not been my purpose to enter into details of Mr. 
Millikin's business career to any particular extent, tho some 
of them appear along with a few leading events of his life 
mentioned later in connection with those of a public nature. 

Before going to Florida for his annual Winter's outing 
on January 7, 1909, Mr. Millikin, as was his custom, spent 
several days in adjusting his business affairs, tho he did not 
mention any premonition of a failure to return ; indeed, his 



associates thought he was looking better than usual as the 
open winter had allowed him more out-door exercise than for 
some years. 

One evening shortly before he and Mrs. Millikin left, Dr. 
J. N. Randall, a long time intimate friend, visited them in 
their home and talked over their plans for the trip, Mr. Mil- 
likin stating that he was an old man and was skeptical of 
the wisdom of going south at that time, but remarked that 
he would at least avoid the rigor of the Winter weather and 
minimize the risk of taking cold that might prove serious. 

He expressed a desire for the Doctor to accompany them, 
but that was practically impossible, tho Mrs. Millikin joined 
in the request also, repeating the statement that both of them 
were old enough to need, him. 

I called at his office to express the hope that they would 
have an enjoyable winter and to ask him whether he had a 
parting message for me, but he said with evident weariness 
that there was nothing special. 

It had been the custom of Mrs. Taylor and myself to 
take or send a basket of flowers to the train as they left, but 
I was very busy down town and overlooked it that morn- 
ing until practically train time, when I rushed to the florist 
for one and asked the bank custodian to run down with it. 
He found the train just starting, but succeeded in placing 
it in their hands with our word of cheer. Little did we realize 
that he would never return. A year or so afterwards Mrs. 
Millikin spoke of our custom and said, feelingly, "You never 
forget, do you?" 

The first intimation of Mr. Millikin's serious illness was 
given in a telegram dated February 25, 1909, to Mr. O. B. 
Gorin, Vice-President of the bank, asking him to come to 
Orlando, the Millikin's Florida Winter home, at once. He 
arrived there promptly but found his long-time fast friend 
and partner practically unconscious and that the physicians 
thought it unwise to arouse him, as his going was but a few 
hours away and it might worry him. 

The end came at 11 a. m., March 2, 1909, as announced 
in a telegram to the bank from Mr. Gorin. The Decatur 
Daily Review, having anticipated the announcement by pre- 

r 28 1 


paring much data concerning his life which, together with 
interviews with some University folk and leading citizens, 
filled nearly two pages in its afternoon edition. The anxiety 
of the preceding hours now gave place to deep gloom which 
pervaded the city and county. All classes of people gathered 
in little groups expressing their sorrow and exalting his vir- 
tues and his services to the community. 

Heading the feeling and appreciative expressions printed 
in the Review, was one from the University voiced by its 
president : 

"We are almost too overwhelmed to speak. Mr. Milli- 
kin's character is well expressed in his achievements and 
generous benefactions. Those who were near to him have 
always been profoundly impressed with his high ideals and 
unswerving devotion to them. He was a man of tender 
sympathies. He was ever ready to respond to appeals in 
time of need. 

"Our loss is irreparable. A gloom fills every class 
room. All feel that a personal friend has gone." 

Speaking more at length to the Daily Herald reporter in 
the evening, President Taylor paid the following tribute, 
which appeared in its morning edition : 

"During the summer of 1901 Air. Millikin, Mr. Loeb, 
chairman of our building committee, and myself visited a 
number of institutions of learning in the East for the pur- 
pose of inspecting their plants and deciding upon types of 
buildings for the University. This association with Mr. Mil- 
likin gave me an insight into his character that helped me 
immeasurably in planning for the University's upbuilding. 
Our conversations covered all phases of its aims, scope, or- 
ganization and management. They revealed a knowledge 
of the problems involved and a purpose so fixed that I was at 
once convinced that an advanced and aggressive policy 
would have at all times his heartiest support. His keen in- 
terest in the general scheme of the organization of the col- 
lege was always most refreshing and encouraging. 

"His sane conception of what a modern college should 
be has been worth as much in its development as the gen- 
erous financial provision which he made for it. He took 
the same interest in its details that he took in the great busi- 
ness enterprises with which he was connected and its busi- 
ness affairs have been characterized by the same admirable 

r 29 1 


policy that has given them such high standing in the com- 
mercial world. Though he had given so much of his time 
and energy to his business interests, he was unusually well 
informed on many subjects in which scholars and men of 
leisure only are supposed to be interested. This knowledge 
made him a delightful conversationalist on a variety of 
themes. While he was a man of positive convictions, he was 
in no sense narrow-minded and illiberal. On the contrary 
he admired independence of thought and commended merit 
wherever found. He detested sham and appreciated worth. 
His wishes concerning the University's policy were expressed 
in my address at its opening exercises. 

"Though exacting and business-like in everything, he 
was filled with the spirit of the true philanthropist and his 
benefactions express the bent of his sympathies and the fore- 
thought he exercised in. bestowing them. This community 
and the church to whose supervision he entrusts this insti- 
tution will ever have perpetual cause to revere his memory 
and to be grateful for its spirit and influence in the world." 
It also contained the following item : 

"As a coincident in the death of Mr. Millikin is related 
by students of the University. At chapel services yesterday 
morning at 10 o'clock President Taylor offered a fervent 
prayer for the recovery of the man who made the univer- 
sity possible. Inasmuch as there is a difference of one hour 
between the time at Orlando and Decatur, Mr. Millikin was 
probably breathing his last as the President was praying for 
the recovery of the founder of the school." 

Other highly appreciative expressions from leading citi- 
zens were also published in the dailies from which we quote 
the following : 

B. O. McReynolds of the National Bank of Decatur — 
"Mr. Millikin I have known in a business way and personally 
most intimately. I have known in him one of the best busi- 
ness men in the county and the most public-spirited citizen 
Decatur has ever had. No one can take his place. The loss 
is public and huge. In business Mr. Millikin's intuition was 
wonderful. He knew immediately what attitude to take in a 
deal or undertaking. He made business here. His influence 
on the city was inestimable. He was sagacious, honest, 

H. B. Wilson, Superintendent of Schools — "It was not 
my good fortune to know Mr. Millikin well, partly because 
of my short residence here. But always when I have met 

r 30 1 


him he has been most cordial and courteous. I have found 
that he is universally admired and respected. I have seen 
his influence on the city and vicinity. He surely endeared 
himself to the citizens of Decatur as no other man has 
had opportunity to do. 

J. A. Corbett of the Citizens' National Bank — "No man 
here has ever had such an influence for good in the com- 
munity as Mr. Millikin. No man is more generally admired 
or respected. Out of respect to him every business house 
should close during his funeral. Let the wheels stop for that 
time. Let Decatur make the occasion a memorable one and 
worthy of the man himself." 

Lowber Burrows, the banker, who was here when Mr. 
Millikin came to town, said: 

"I have known him personally and intimately. Always 
I have respected and admired him as a man of great sagacity 
and business keenness." 

A. G. Webber, friend and confidential adviser of Mr. 
Millikin: "He was a man of superior judgment, shrewd and 
far-seeing. He possessed a strong individuality of charac- 
ter. There was nothing of the uncertain or undecided in his 

"He was a plain and unassuming man of the people, 
honest and fearless, a man of power and of action. 

"There was a strong bond of friendship and loyalty be- 
tween Mr. Millikin and his friends. He never forsook a 
friend in trouble. 

"He was a public-spirited citizen who loved the people, 
of which he left great monuments to his glory." 

An evening telegram from Mr. Gorin to the University 
was received as follows : 

"Funeral from the University on Saturday. Remains lie 
in state there from Friday noon. Mrs. Millikin remains 

Later word came saying the body would arrive on Friday 
at 11:40 A. M. 

Both papers gave much data concerning Mr. Millikin's 
life and also liberal space to each additional day's doings, using 
large cuts of Mr. Millikin, of the handsome bank building, 
the University group, the homestead, the vast throng headed 
by Mr. Millikin, the University officials, and President Roose- 
velt for his dedicatory address at the buildings on March 
13, 1903; the student and faculty escort with over a thousand 

r 3i i 


citizens in silent waiting at the Wabash depot for the arrival 
of Mr. Millikin's body, the slow and solemn march thru the 
thickly lined streets, the students with uncovered heads pass- 
ing the bank building, the entrance of the procession to the 
University tower, the lavish display of floral tributes in the 
lobby and in the auditorium, and the slow and silent march 
out again, bearing the casket of the beloved founder out and 
on to its final resting place in Greenwood Cemetery. Decatur 
has paid no such honors to any other man and whatever lack 
there may have been before in showing appreciation was 
surely many times more than atoned for in those generously 
affectionate tributes of his fellow citizens. 

In the midst of it all "I could but recall his insistent and 
repeated plaint that in spite of his large contributions to the 
up-building of his adopted city, few people seemed to have 
any appreciation of it. Tho I protested to the contrary, I 
knew that he was hungry for an expression of it in a more 
tangible way. Perhaps, after all, he may have seen those 
heart-felt obsequies then and Avas satisfied ! 

But to resume the narrative, we quote further from the 
Decatur Review : 

"Over 1,500 people were at the Wabash station Friday 
morning when the Wabash Continental Limited from St. 
Louis pulled in with the body of James Millikin aboard, 
among them being many of the prominent citizens of Deca- 

"When the train pulled in, at 11:15 a. m., there was a 
simultaneous surge of the crowd towards the platform, which 
was soon congested to such an extent that it was with dif- 
ficulty that the Millikin students, marching in two lines, could 
reach the truck on which the red cedar box containing the 
coffin had been unloaded. 

"The coffin was removed from the box and placed in the 
hearse, while many of those in the crowd stood with uncov- 
ered heads. Then with the students, marching in two lines 
ahead as an escort, the hearse set off on its way to the 
James Millikin University. 

"The streets were lined with eager spectators, all anxi- 
ous to get a glimpse of the hearse. From every window 
peered many faces, while business was abandoned until the 
procession passed by. 

r 32 1 


"Old-time friends of the deceased who came to the 
depot were taken to the University in carriages. 

"One hundred men students of the university marched 
in line of twos from the depot to the university. 

"Director Kaeuper commanded them. His aides were 
Otto R. Kyle, Clarence Dowell, Guy Rodgers and Louis 
Hull. They acted as guides to the line. William Bell and 
Ansel Magill led. 

"Roy Price drummed, and the muffled beats were heard 
by many before the procession came in sight. 

"Walking beside the hearse were the six university stu- 
ents chosen to carry the body and serve as pallbearers until 
it should be laid in state. They were: Clifford Miller, Wes- 
ley Bone, Lloyd Wallace, Ray Ryan, Paul Willite and Cecil 

"It was an effective tribute to the dead man that so 
many hundreds of citizens stood with hats off as his body 
was borne by. 

"As the line approached the Millikin bank the students 
marched by the spot that had known Mr. Millikin's greatest 
business activities, escorting him past for the last time, with 
heads uncovered. The same courtesy was observed at the 
Millikin residence, and again at the University." 

The University authorities had appointed several com- 
mittees to act for them in the reception of Mr. Millikin's 
body and in organizing necessary details in the conduct of 
the funeral exercises at the auditorium. 

Professors W. H. Varnum, Binney Gunnison, M. Eliza- 
beth Colegrove and E. Louise Guernsey constituted the com- 
mittee on decorations. Black crepe, smilax, calla lilies and 
palms, two massive galax leaf wreaths four feet in diameter 
relieved by violets and ferns were used in the lobby entrance 
and on to the auditorium doors. The white marble pillars 
were not draped, tho they were wound in spiral strands of 
smilax, the whole making a most dignified and artistic setting 
for the reception of the casket where it was to lie in state 
until the exercises on Saturday afternoon. 

On its arrival at high noon on Friday, the large and 
exquisite blanket of white calla lilies from the Students Com- 
mittee, Carlton Mattes, Ralph Jones, Louise Stevenson, Mary 
Louise Elder and William H. Bell, which was later to be 
placed on it when lowered to its final resting place, was 



lightly laid over the lower part of the casket, the whole effect 
being unusually quieting and restful. 

During Friday afternoon and evening and Saturday fore- 
noon thousands of people silently filed past to look upon the 
face of the friend so long a familiar and dominant figure 
in the city's life. A score of children from the Anna B. Mil- 
likin Home escorted by the superintendent, wept feelingly 
as they lingered a moment at the bier, a most touching and 
meaningful incident. 

At the closing hour on Thursday afternoon, the Millikin 
National Bank and the Union Iron Works locked their doors 
not to be opened again until Monday morning. 

As it was not found feasible to make a death mask, care- 
ful measurements were made and deposited in the vault of 
the University for the future use as needed. As there are 
several good photographs and an excellent oil painting of 
Mr. Millikin in the city, it was thought that a good sculptor 
would be able to fashion a satisfactory bust when desired 
without the mask. 

Some relatives from abroad arrived during Friday, among 
them Mr. Millikin's cousin, Joan M. Kennedy, of Hamilton, 
Ohio ; his nephew, James Millikin McFarland, Topeka, Kan- 
sas ; and a niece, Mrs. Lizzie Hannah, of Oak Park, Illinois. 
Many personal and business friends from out of town were 
also present. 

Intimate friends from various organizations served as 
guards of honor and watchers in relays over the casket thru 
the night and until the hour arrived for the funeral on Sat- 
urday. A member of the city police force was there thru the 
entire time also. 

We quote from the Decatur Herald of March 7: 

"With impressive services the funeral of James Millikin, 
Decatur's greatest financier and philanthropist, was held from 
the crowded Assembly Hall of the James Millikin Univer- 
sity at 2:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon. One thousand peo- 
ple thronged the chapel, every seat being occupied, while 
many, eager to get a glimpse of the services, crowded around 
the side walls and extended almost the entire width of the 
lobby outside its entrance doors. 

[34 1 


"The front of the stage was banked with flowers in- 
cluding large wreaths of violets, roses, carnations, and galax 
leaves, and large bouquets of calla lilies. Potted palms were 
placed at intervals at the foot of the stage. Mr. Millikin's 
box on the east side of the chapel was hung in black crepe 
and decorated with palms and a bunch of white carnations. 
The chair which used to be occupied by Mr. Millikin when he 
was present at some function held in the hall, was covered 
with black crepe. Mrs. Millikin's vacant chair stood beside it. 

"The casket was placed directly in front of the rostrum 
at 2:30 o'clock, the services beginning promptly at that hour. 
As a prelude to the services, Professor Herman H. Kaeup- 
per played softly Chopin's funeral march behind the scenes 
stilling the audience into reverent silence. Soon after the 
casket was in its place, Rev. Dr. W. H. Penhallegon, Rev. 
N. M. Baker, Dr. A. R. Taylor and the quartet consisting 
of Mrs. Montgomery Nicholson, Miss Theckla Leafbourg, 
Carl Heiby and A. E. Lindamood, took their places on the 
platform. As the closing tones of the funeral march died 
away, the quartet sang most beautifully 'Lead Kindly Light,' 
the hymn used universally on such occasions. Dr. Penhal- 
legon and the quartet followed with the antiphonal service, 
the minister reading the sacred words and the choir chant- 
ing the responses. 

"Rev. N. M. Baker then offered up a fervent prayer 
full of thanksgiving for the opportunity of having known and 
been associated with Mr. Millikin. 

"The funeral address delivered by Dr. Penhallegon of 
the First Presbyterian church, was a fitting eulogy to the 
character and personality of Decatur's foremost citizen. Dr. 
Penhallegon spoke eloquently of this large hearted man who 
had accumulated so much wealth only to use it for noble 

"A brief prayer was then offered by President Taylor 
who invoked special blessings on the sorrow stricken wife 
in the far Southland unable to attend the last rites over her 
dead. With the chanting of a few verses by the choir the 
impressive service was at an end. 

"Slowly and reverently the great throng of students of 
the University and the friends of the dead man filed out of 
the hall to take their places in the procession to the ceme- 
tery. The senior class girls for whom seats had been re- 
served in the auditorium marched one by one by the casket 
each receiving an armful of the floral tributes to bear to the 
last resting place of the dead philanthropist. 

"Then with measured tread the pallbearers bore the 



casket down the main walk between the two lines of people 
including the escort of students, to where the hearse was 
waiting. At the command of Mr. Kaeuper the student es- 
cort, which on the day before had escorted the body from 
the station to the University, marched to the head of the 
procession to lead the way to Greenwood cemetery where 
the temporary interment was made. A large number of men 
from the city also fell in line and marched to the muffled 
drum beats. 

"The funeral cortege was unquestionably the largest 
and most elaborate ever seen in Decatur. There were 32 
carriages in line, bearing the pallbearers, relatives, members 
of the university faculty and intimate friends of Mr. Milli- 
kin. All along the way the streets were lined with people 
waiting to catch the last glimpse of the casket that con- 
tained all that was mortal of the city's greatest citizen. At 
the transfer house stood nearly 3,000 people, not from morbid 
curiosity but because of the reverence and love they felt to- 
ward their neighbor. 

"Including those who came in the carriages about 400 
gathered at the cemetery, the student escort still in the lead, 
were drawn up several rows deep. They all stood with 
uncovered heads while the casket was placed in its resting 

"The quartet sang two verses of "Abide With Me" fol- 
lowed by the benediction by Dr. Penhallegon. 

"In Dr. Penhallegon's eloquent eulogy he said: 'No 
man is explicable, apart from his ancestors, we are told. I 
hazard nothing in sa3 7 ing that Mr. Millikin was fortunately 
born — that he came from parents of unusual strength of 
mind and heart and inherited from them some of those traits 
which made him the strong man he was. 

" 'A great student of the immortal bard of Avon, he 
spent several days at Stratford, looking for some unmistaka- 
ble proof of the poet's home life and identity. Little was 
found to satisfy or compensate. At last he said to an old 
resident, Ts there no descendent of William Shakespeare in 
this town?' He was told that there was a descendent of 
Shakespeare, coming in the line of his own sister. It was 
a boy in the day school a lad among a common lot of 
lads. The gentleman went to the school and inquired of the 
teacher if such was the fact. The teacher confirmed the 
rumor and agreed to call the class of which the boy was a 
member. This was done and in a moment the man who had 
given years and years to the study of Shakespeare said: 
'This is the boy, I know him.' 

[36 1 



' 'The teacher asked how he could tell. The man re- 
plied, T know him by the peculiar drooping eyes and the 
strong forehead. There is no mistake. I know he is a 
descendant of Shakespeare.' 

"Many of those who heard the prayer of Rev. Nathan 
M. Baker at the funeral of the late James Millikin thought it 
the most remarkable they had ever listened to. It was to be 
regretted that this tribute was not taken down verbatim and 
preserved as an example of a beautiful funeral prayer. 

"Mr. Baker was an old friend of Mr. Millikin's. His 
was a touching figure as he stood, aged and patriarchal, on 
the platform above the dead body of the man he had known 
so well. The words he spoke were simple, but fervent, and 
in themselves a magnificent eulogy to the dead man. 

"Although deeply moved Mr. Baker's voice was strong 
and carried well except in the part where he prayed fer- 
vently for the absent widow. His diction and expression was 
fine and his thoughts throughout worthy and noble." 

The following resolutions were adopted by the Board of 
Managers : 

"Mr. Millikin's benefactions have been accompanied by 
an abiding interest in all that pertains to the upbuilding and 
the development of this institution and his high ideals of its 
mission and possibilities have ever inspired us to increased 
zeal in the execution of the great trust imposed upon us. 
His frequent counsels have been of great value to us in the 
solving of important questions concerning its general policy 
and management, and have given us courage in planning for 
larger things from year to year. 

"It has ever been our pleasure to co-operate with him 
in the observance of the same conservative method in the 
conduct of the business affairs of the college that have char- 
acterized his management of the various enterprises with 
which he has been connected, always having assurance of 
their wisdom and safety. 

"Our association with him during these years has con- 
firmed our faith in his integrity of character, his high con- 
ceptions of manhood and womanhood, his charity for the 
erring, his devotion to the fundamental principles upon which 
rest the precious heritages of our modern civilization, and 
his sympathy for struggling humanity everywhere. 

"He was a model citizen, taking a deep interest in all 
movements for the enlargement of the material enterprises 
of the community as well as for purifying the moral at- 
mosphere and making the city a wholesome place for all 

[38 1 


classes of people. To the attainment of these ends he was 
always liberal of his time and means and there is hardly any 
beneficent public enterprise that has contributed to the ad- 
vancement of the higher interests of Decatur and Macon 
county for the past half century that has not had his hearty 
encouragement and support, his crowning munificence being 
the educational institution which bears his name. 

"His life will ever prove a quickening stimulus to man- 
kind wherever the story of his struggles and attainments, 
his virtues and his benefactions are told and this monument, 
consecrated to the education of ambitious youth, will be a 
perennial blessing through the centuries to come. 

"To his devoted wife, our friend, now so sorely bereft 
of his companionship and sympathy we tender the assur- 
ance of our deep sense of a common loss and of our heart- 
felt sympathy in this hour of her great bereavement. That 
she may find solace in the support that always comes from 
the All-loving Father to those who put their trust in Him is 
our earnest prayer. 

"It is hereby ordered that the foregoing expression of 
esteem and affection for our departed friend be spread upon 
the minutes of this Board and that a copy of the same be 
forwarded to Mrs. Millikin." 

For the Board of Managers of the Decatur College and 
Industrial School. 

A. R. Taylor, 
S. E. McClelland, 
J. D. Rogers, 


The students' resolutions are as follows : 

"In the death of our esteemed benefactor and friend, 
James Millikin, we, the students of the James Millikin Uni- 
versity, recipients of his favor, experience a heart-felt per- 
sonal loss; 

"For it is through his warm sympathy and unselfish 
devotion to young men and women that we now enjoy in so 
full a measure the high privilege of educational training tend- 
ing to perfect us in knowledge and to make us more useful 
in the world. And this oft-expressed solicitude for the 
welfare of the students of this institution in particular has 
led us long since to look to him with affectionate gratitude. 

"Further, as an example of simple, sincere, honest, 
vigorous, and unselfish manhood, zealous in promoting the 
right and quick to meet the wrong, we have realized in him 

[39 1 


an ideal, and we pray that we may be better men and women 
because of the life he lived. 

"May this bear to the bereaved wife our deepest sym- 
pathy in this hour of sorrow." 
For the students: 

Fred T. McGee, 
John R. Lyons, 
Arthur Xiedemeyer, 


Hugh Crea, his corporation lawyer, once said : 

"I think that Mr. Millikin is the best fitted for bank- 
ing in a place the size of Decatur of any man you will 
find in the country. There has been no better judge of 
credits; he knows all these people and has made a study 
of their affairs; he is able to talk to them about matters 
in which they are interested; in addition to all that he is 
a good judge of men." 
Another citizen said of him : 

"I think Mr. Millikin is easily the best 'mixer' in 
Macon county. And the best of it is he does his work so 
quietly that it is often not even suspected that he is at 
it. He will meet you and in a quiet way talk with you on 
a matter that interests you very much; you will note also 
that he talks well on the subject. Perhaps he will not 
use many words, but everything he says will have the im- 
press of sound sense. We talk of some of our politicians 
being 'mixers'; not the best of them was ever able to get 
half as close to a man as Mr. Millikin." 

"Mr. Millikin was proud of the record made by his 
bank, that it never had refused to pay on demand to any 
man who had a deposit. In the last months of 1907 banks 
in all parts of the country were suspending cash payments; 
they were giving clearing house certificates and other paper 
forms that were not exactly money. 

"He did not wish to resort to that. He was getting 
to be an old man and never in his life up to that time had he 
refused to pay out the cash. He determined not to break 
that record, but he went to Indianapolis and bought $200,000 
in currency, paying a handsome premium for it. He did not 
need the money, as it turned out, but he was ready for them 
if they had asked for it; he fixed himself to keep clear that 
record of which he was proud." 

The personal character of Mr. Millikin is easily discov- 
ered in large measure by his accomplishments in the various 

[40 1 


enterprises launched by him and thru which he accumulated 
his fortune. Vision and courage from his boyhood dom- 
inated all his actions, culminating in the establishment of 
the University; skill in reading men, enabling him to select 
capable and trustworthy associates in business and to dis- 
criminate wisely in furnishing funds to assist others to start 
or enlarge their business ; integrity and honesty in his dealings 
with his fellow-men ; sympathetic interest in everything per- 
taining to the development of a better community life and 
generous in his contributions to every worthy enterprise ; 
exacting in his dealings, large and small, tho liberal in con- 
cessions to deserving men ; quite set in his ethical and relig- 
ious ideals, a characteristic of his heritage, but liberal in his 
attitude toward those whose creeds differed from his own ; 
patient with down-and-out people who were sincerely trying 
to recover, yet slow in forgetting evidently intended slights 
and offenses ; courteous and companionable in his intercourse 
with people, making friends easily whose confidence in his 
ability and honesty enabled him to build up the greatest bank- 
ing business in Illinois outside of Chicago. 

He was quickly affected by suffering and its alleviation 
gave him pleasure. He was jealous of his good name and 
resented suggested selfish motives prompting his actions, 
especially in community affairs, and was keenly aroused by 
subtle insinuations. 

On the other hand, he was quite sensitive to appreciation 
and fretted if it did not come. One day a local student came 
into his office and warmly thanked him for establishing a 
College in Decatur, as it enabled him to secure a collegiate 
education which would have been impossible otherwise. Mr. 
Millikin was moved to tears, as he was also on the opening 
day of the institution in September, 1903 — when over 500 
eager young men and women rose in our first assembly an- 
nouncing their intention to enroll in its classes. He was 
much better educated than most business men, few of them 
being so well versed in current affairs and in the progress of 
science and invention at home and abroad. 

I have used the word patience in speaking of his personal 
character, but those who knew him in the last half dozen 

[41 1 


years of his life are aware of the effect of his failing health 
upon its tone, and his impatience under circumstances that 
formerly disturbed him very little, doubtless causing him 
as much annoyance as anyone else. Memory, or the lack of 
it, played its part as it does with other mortals, even with 
those of such an iron will as carried him so successfully thru 
a long and busy life. 

He was industrious and untiring in everything he under- 
took, having a keenness of insight rarely excelled. His con- 
fidence in his own judgment about business matters was amaz- 
ing to his friends and associates. 

The episode of the run on the Millikin Bank is introduced 
here as illustrative of his astute generalship in carrying the 
bank through the critical financial panic of 1878. The Deca- 
tur Review says that "it was so well managed that it could 
scarcely be called a run, and that it was the most important 
event in Mr. Millikin's business career. It made him the 
leading banker in the city, the leading country banker in 

He recited the incident to me one day, which was in 
brief as follows : A run had begun on the other banks and 
Mr. Millikin had a tip or a suspicion that one would start on 
his bank very soon. He quickly laid his plans and asked 
Orlando Powers, a large land owner and a depositor with 
him, to come at once from Jacksonville for a conference. 

Perhaps half a dozen men gathered at the office of Hugh 
Crea, his attorney, that night and the securities of the bank 
were carefully inspected, showing its absolute solvency, with 
an ample margin in excess of available assets. Anticipating 
such a situation, big bunches of currency had been called 
in from Springfield and Chicago, one lot of $50,000 having 
been received that night and another coming the following 

A great many farmers were depositors and their confi- 
dence in the bank's soundness and in Mr. Millikin was not 
easily shaken. However, as the run began the next morning 
many of them caught the fever and began to check out also. 
The excitement increasing, it soon became evident that only 
a master move could prevent a catastrophe. 

[42 1 


As agreed at the conference, Orlando Powers and Doc- 
tor Ira Barnes were in the bank lobby quietly passing around 
chatting with the callers and by their actions showing little 
or no concern about what was taking place. Gradually, how- 
ever, they showed increasing interest, and as a depositor would 
draw his funds, Mr. Powers would say: "I have absolute 
confidence in this bank and would like to borrow your money, 
giving my personal note for it." Knowing Mr. Powers' exten- 
sive land and other holdings, the bargain was quickly made 
and Mr. Powers would go at once to the window and deposit 
the money to his own account. Dr. Barnes was pursuing 
the same course. This had not been going long until, encour- 
aged by their action, more money was going in than was 
being drawn out, and the danger was over. 

The merchants and other business men in the city had 
been given ample assurance early in the forenoon that the 
bank was solvent and many of them borrowed the money 
drawn out by their patrons and deposited it there along 
with the proceeds of their cash sales, thus assisting in tiding 
over that feverish day and re-establishing general confidence 
among all classes of people. 

Probably few men were more cool and self-possessed on 
that day than the president of the Millikin Bank himself. 

Mr. Millikin's larger contributions to various enterprises 
in the community were approximately as follows : 

The James Millikin University, including the $50,000 

to Lincoln College and Oakland Park proper. . .$500,000 
Anna B. Millikin Home, including annual allowance 

for maintenance and the site for same estimated. 25,000 

The Young Men's Christian Association building... 5,000 

The Young Women's Christian Association building 500 

The First Presbyterian Church building 5,000 

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church 2,200 

Various other churches in the county, about 10,000 


This summary does not of course include a multiplicity 
of smaller contributions to philanthropic and civic enterprises 
of various kinds to which he was always a dependable giver. 



In speaking of Mr. Millikin's published benefactions, 
many long-time residents also recalled other ways in which 
he should be regarded as benefactor to the city. Among 
them were the following : 

In the large number of the then present successful busi- 
ness men whom he had aided in getting a start and assisted 
in tiding over critical times in their various enterprises ; 

In the personal interest which he took in advising and 
encouraging prospective investors in the city and in assist- 
ing them in forming profitable alliances in a business way; 

In the development of the leading down-state bank in 
Illinois with all that means as a money center in Decatur; 

In starting the pace for the construction of an unusually 
fine type of office buildings in the erection of the elegant 
seven story structure on North Water and Main ; 

In the salvaging of the Union Iron Works at a time of 
dire distress and organizing an energetic corps of men thru 
whom he made it one of the best manufacturing establish- 
ments in the city. 

In the active participation in the various aggressive 
movements to make Decatur a forward looking, modern mu- 

Had he done no more than these things he would ever 
be known in the city's annals as one of the generous bene- 
factors deserving high honor. 

Add now to the large benefactions named above, those 
contributions made by the Trustees of the Estate in accord 
with the provisions of his will and the indebtedness of the 
people of this locality is easily recognized as far above that 
of any other man or any several men that might be named, 
in the city. 

Mr. Millikin's will provided that his estate should be 
administered by five Trustees, Mrs. Anna B. Millikin, Dr. 
S. E. McClelland, O. B. Gorin, J. M. Brownback and S. E. 
Walker, the income from which should be used for educa- 
tional and charitable purposes in the city of Decatur at their 
discretion, and specified certain conditions on which it might 
be given to the Decatur College of the James Millikin Uni- 



45 I 


It also provided that the said trustees should manage 
the properties, personal and real, at their discretion, and gave 
them the power to dispose of the same and distribute the 
proceeds to the interests above named and under conditions 
satisfactory to them. 

Since Mr. Millikin's death they have distributed the fol- 
lowing amounts to institutions named : 

The James Millikin University, including build- 
ings, equipment, current expenses and en- 
dowment $1,004,857.37 

Decatur and Macon County Hospital Wing 216,906.26 

Welfare Home 12,050.00 

Anna B. Millikin Home 34,092.01 

Art Institute 15,500.00 

Day Nursery 5,500.00 


As the assets of the Millikin Estate originally were ap- 
praised at about a million and a quarter dollars, this sum- 
mary shows that the amount assigned to date, April 1, 1926, 
equals it, leaving its present value practically the same as 
the original amount, or an average net return of about 
5.6 per cent per annum on same, — certainly a significant 
showing in view of the fact that a large sum of money was 
expended on the enlargement and additional equipment of 
the bank and Union Iron Works buildings, etc. 

On the death of Mrs. Millikin, Dr. W. H. Penhallegon 
was appointed as her successor. That the affairs of the 
estate have been wisely administered is easily seen in the 
large sums contributed to the institutions named above and 
conclusively demonstrates that the various properties placed 
in their hands have been disposed of profitably or greatly 
improved and their value enhanced to a high degree by them. 
The business of the bank and of the Union Iron Works has 
been most notably increased. The Millikin Trust Co., or- 
ganized in 1915 as an auxiliary of the Millikin Bank, is one 
of the most substantial and prosperous in central Illinois. 

At his death the surplus profits and capital stock of 
the bank was $450,000 and its deposits about $4,500,000. Its 




deposits at this time amount to $7,801,200.82. Its capital 
stock is $500,000.00, surplus and profits $327,944.67, National 
Bank Circulation $490,000.0O-making a total of $9,119,145.49. 
As the estate owns more than one-half interest in it, its man- 
agement, being practically in the hands of the officers of the 
bank, it has been a quasi-public institution with the conse- 
quent good will and sympathetic interest of the whole com- 
munity in its affairs. 

It now has 15,834 depositors, a most remarkable show- 
ing for a down-state institution and a fine compliment to? its 
managers, the trustees of his estate. 

In this quarter-centennial year of Millikin University, 
occurs the sixty-sixth anniversary of the opening of the suc- 
cessor of the bankrupt Railroad Bank in its building on Mer- 
chant Street. 

In 1863, J. Q. A. Odor became his partner, but soon 
retired. In 1865, Jerome R. Gorin became his popular and 
efficient associate, the title of the firm being J. Millikin & 
Co. He withdrew in 1881, his son, Orville B. Gorin, ;be- 
coming a partner, the name remaining unchanged until 1897, 
when it was incorporated as The Millikin National Bank and 
was designated as a U. S. Depository in 1901. 

The policy of Mr. Millikin was always conservative, and 
the enforced suspension or failure of hundreds of other banks 
in the country at various times, as already stated, has found 
his bank sufficiently stable to escape even temporary closing 
of its doors, tho there were occasions when only the confi- 
dence of its patrons saved a dangerous run. 

The immediate associates of Mr. Millikin in the man- 
agement of the bank for many years and at the time of his 
death were Orville B. Gorin, vice-president, now president, 
and Joseph M. Brownback, cashier, Smith E. Walker, assist- 
ant cashier, and Guy P. Lewis, second assistant cashier, each 
of whom stepped up one notch at once. 

Mr. O. B. Gorin has been in continuous service over sixty 
years, filling every position in the bank from that of errand 
boy to president. For a large part of the decade preceding 
Mr. Millikin's death, he was practically its executive head, 



hence there was hardly a ripple in the continuity and policy 
of the management. 

The entrance of Dr. Silas E. McClelland to the chair- 
manship of the estate trustees rather confirmed it, for he 
naturally deferred to the views and judgment of his asso- 
ciates in its administration and in managerial details. 

In speaking of the factors conspiring to build up such 
a surprising banking business in so small a city, Mr. J. P. 
Gorin in ''Fifty Years of Banking," says: 

"But there is a reason for everything and the seeker 
for the causes of this unusual success, while he may discover 
nothing wonderful, will find much that is admirable and 
worthy of emulation in both the character and the methods 
of the man who founded the bank and in the men who 
helped him build it up. 

"The dominating characteristics of James Millikin were 
honesty, intelligence, industry and prudence, with broad 
benevolence underlying all. And it is a mistaken idea, if 
such a notion exists, that his benevolence was almost wholly 
general and seldom shown in individual cases. But, while 
we know that in his personal capacity he helped numerous 
persons to whom he could not lend the bank's funds, it is 
as a banker we wish now to consider him. 

"From first to last he rang clear and true in answer to 
the prime question every careful would-be depositor silently 
asks in his heart of a banker: 'Is he honest?' There was 
never a doubt of this at any time in his career. The next 
question: 'Has he the requisite business sagacity? The 
necessary prudence and conservativeness? The sound, true 
judgment of men and affairs that a banker must have to 
succeed?' were all answered, year after year, with increas- 
ing emphasis in the affirmative. Not in a day, nor a year, 
nor a decade, did he build to the top his reputation as a 
banker: but in a half century. And at no time in all these 
years did he lose the confidence of those who entrusted their 
money to his care." 

"But this bank's success was not achieved by James 
Millikin alone and unaided; and he would have been the last 
to claim or to think that he did it all; on the contrary, he 
has many times acknowledged the great credit due his capa- 
ble associates." 

If a young man contemplating a commercial or financial 
life would carefully study the career of Mr. James Millikin 

r 48 1 




and the elements in his personal character which enabled him 
to reach such an eminence in the business world, he would 
find the way quite well blazed for his own success. 

Mr. Millikin's investments and businesses prior to com- 
ing to Decatur have already been quite well set forth. He 
continued for some years to be interested in cattle and in 
farm land, occasionally investing in some city real estate, 
but other business projects in Decatur and in Louisiana en- 
gaged his attention during the later years. 

It is well to recall here the fact that the founder and 
promoter of this great financial institution in Decatur grew 
up on a stock farm and devoted a dozen years of his full 
manhood to dealing in and herding stock in Illinois with 
such success that he has been called "The First Cattle King 
of the Prairie State." 

With a keen vision he also saw far enough ahead to real- 
ize that western land at $1.25 per acre would soon increase 
greatly in value and then had the courage to invest heavily 
enough in them to realize a handsome fortune in a brief 

And yet, with only such a back-ground and such an expe- 
rience, knowing practically nothing about banking, he sud- 
denly veers about and enters a field which at that time, after 
the financial commotion of the previous decade, was not 
the most assuredly attractive one in the business world. 

The growth of the banking business was slow for a 
while, being conservative in its management. It steadily 
gained the confidence of the community, however, and ere- 
long became one of the leading institutions in Central Illi- 
nois, requiring several times more room and vault space, 
culminating in the erection of the present handsome build- 
ing in 1896, excelled in beauty and convenience by few out- 
side Chicago, with commodious safety deposit vaults of the 
modern type ; absolutely proof against fire and burglars, the 
construction being especially ingenious and massive. In 1903 
the deposits had reached the comfortable sum of $3,000,000, 
all the National banks in the city having but $4,450,000 at 
that time. 

He became interested in a variety of enterprises, aiding 



some of them in substantial ways, his holdings gradually 
including city real estate, some farm lands in Illinois and 
considerable stock in Louisiana canal and rice companies in 
his later years. At times he had large investments in gov- 
ernment bonds, in whose changing values he seemed to have 
had prescience unusual. 

He was born a Whig in politics, but joined the Repub- 
lican party about the time of its organization in the fifties. 
Tho quite prominent and influential in its councils, he was 
not inclined to seek any official position. He served, how- 
ever, as a member of the Board of Supervisors and as a city 
alderman for some time after locating in Decatur. Once 
he consented to run for State Senator, but the prejudices 
against bankers in general at that time was used by his 
opponent with such effect that he failed of election, which 
he felt keenly, tho a good sport in politics as well as in 

The story of the founding and development of The James 
Millikin University is given so fully in its details in my Quar- 
ter-Centennial History of the Institution, that it is omitted 
here. A brief account of it follows, however: 

Through all these changing years Mr. Millikin did not 
permit himself to forget that vow of his college days, and 
with advancing age discussed his cherished project occasion- 
ally with personal friends tho formulating no definite plans. 
He however purchased Oakland Park, one day saying that 
he might wish to build a college or a school on it some time. 

A few weeks afterward he expressed his determination 
to contribute a still larger sum for its maintenance, which 
added greatly to the enthusiasm which his original proposi- 
tion had already aroused. 

It organized at Decatur, October 23, 1900. A committee 
of citizens was appointed to solicit the city's quota, which 
immediately organized and proceeded with its work. On Jan- 
uary 1, 1901, Mr. Millikin was notified that his conditions had 
been met. 

Late in 1899 he stated to D. L. Bunn and John A. Brown, 
both prominent attorneys of Decatur, that he would con- 
tribute $100,000 toward the establishment of an industrial 

[51 1 


school in the city if the citizens would duplicate that amount. 
The story soon reached others, resulting in a conference with 
him at which he made a more formal proposition which the 
representatives of the daily papers were authorized to pub- 
lish the next day. 

On the following morning he invited Miss Miller, now 
Mrs. G. R. Wagonseller, a city reporter for the Herald, to 
his office for an interview. She recalls the evident pleasure 
with which Mr. Millikin set forth the various features of his 
plan for publication, and pointing to some boys outside his 
office window, said : "I wish to found a school that will teach 
those boys on the street how to make a living with their 
hands as well as with their heads and prepare them fully for 
some industrial occupations. I wish it to do the same thing 
for the girls, especially to give them an education in the 
household arts, including those who desire to become house- 
maids, so that they may also become intelligent and refined 
women like the nurses and thus give them better standing 
in the home life. I want the cooks capable of selecting and 
preparing our meals so intelligently that they will keep us 
well and thus save the expense of the nurse to make us well." 

While the citizens were discussing the advisability of 
responding to his liberal offer affirmatively, another movement 
was developing in cooperation with a larger project. 

The new project, as outlined by Dr. Darby and Mr. 
Hawkins, proved much more attractive to him than the local 
industrial school merely. After discussing its various phases 
and possibilities at length with them and other church and 
personal friends, Mr. Millikin made an informal proposition 
which two days afterwards he reduced to writing, embodying 
details more fully. A careful reading of it will show as 
clearly as words can express, the intent and scope of the in- 
stitution he was proposing, the liberal policy he wished it 
to follow, and the forecast of its future possibilities evidently 
then possessing him. It should ever serve as an unquestioned 
guide for all boards to be loyally followed in the adminis- 
tration of their sacred trust. 



Decatur, Illinois, May 15, 1900. 
Rev. A. W. Hawkins, Pastor Cumberland Presbyterian 

Church, Decatur, Illinois, and 
Rev. W. J. Darby, Education Secretary, 

Cumberland Presbyterian Church. 
Gentlemen : 

In connection with the published statement that I would 
give $200,000 and Oakland Park (16 acres) for an educational 
institution of a particular type, provided the citizens of De- 
catur would contribute $100,000, mention has been made of 
the transfer to this city of the institution now located at 
Lincoln, Illinois, in which your denomination is interested. 

I have no disposition to arouse rivalry on this question 
between these two cities, but I take occasion to say for my- 
self, if the authorities of your denomination are inclined to 
concentrate their educational interests at Decatur, I would 
cheerfully donate for such purpose the sum of $200,000 and 
the park, provided the citizens of Decatur will join in giving 
$100,000 and your denomination will contribute a reasonable 
sum. To this offer I attach only two conditions. 

First : That in addition to the customary college courses 
taught in our literary institutions, there should be a co-or- 
dinate branch in which the young, both boys and girls, are 
trained for the practical duties of life, on the farm, in the 
shop, in the counting room and in the home ; an institution 
where the scientific, the practical, and industrial shall have 
a place of equal importance, side by side with the literary 
and classical. 

Second : That while your denomination would sustain 
toward the institution in the appointment of trustees and 
faculty that official relation which is customary in such cases, 
yet the policy of the school should not narrowly be "Sectar- 
ian" and it should be conducted on a broad plane in which 
all will be treated alike, regardless of sect or creed. I will 
say that I was brought up under the influence of your church, 
my father being a Cumberland Presbyterian elder in Penn- 
sylvania ; my wife is the daughter of a Cumberland Presby- 
terian minister, the Rev. Samuel Aston, and while we both 
had other church affiliations for many years in this city, yet 

f 53 I 


we have a high regard for the church of our parents, and 
if our fellow citizens will join us, we shall be very glad to 
enter into the plan here proposed, with a view to giving 
the young that education, practical and Christian, which will 
fit them to be good and useful citizens ; also for the benefit 
of the community at large by establishing in our midst a 
first-class educational institution. 

The expectation exists that the sum of $100,000 would 
be added by your church to the $300,000 named for Decatur 
citizens and myself, making a total of $400,000. The amount 
ought to be a half-million dollars. Should your church put 
in an additional $50,000, it may be confidently expected that 
the remaining $50,000 necessary to the half-million will be 
forthcoming from Decatur if the interest is taken here which 
the enterprise should receive. 

Respectfully yours, James Millikin. 

On behalf of the church, the proposition was promptly 
accepted by Mr. Hawkins and Dr. Darby and the public an- 
nouncement through the church papers aroused widespread 
interest and enthusiasm. They enlisted the cooperation of 
several leaders in the field and as soon as feasible inaugu- 
rated a campaign for meeting its requirements. 

At their October meetings the synods of Indiana, Illinois 
and Iowa formally approved their action and appointed a Col- 
lege Commission with authority to secure a charter and pro- 
ceed vigorously to raise the required sum. 

The story of that successful campaign under the mag- 
netic leadership of Dr. Darby, president of the Commission, 
and Mr. Hawkins, financial agent, makes very interesting 
reading. When the time limit later fixt by Mr. Millikin is 
considered, together with the fact that the total membership 
of the denomination in those states was not only compara- 
tively small but embraced few large congregations accus- 
tomed to think in large sums, and further, that at that time 
there were few colleges in the West possessing such an en- 
dowment as proposed, the successful outcome was quite re- 

Aside from the funds, however, great gain came to the 




proposed college through the intensive and wide-spread adver- 
tising given it resulting in the unparalleled registration record 
at its opening in 1903. 

The first dollar received in response to Mr. Millikin's 
proposition for the endowment fund of the University came 
from Mrs. Nancy Creamer, a poor woman of Chariton, Iowa. 
It was a silver piece, a widow's mite. It is deposited in the 
University vault where it will be kept in appreciation of her 
interest in this project of her beloved church. 

Among the larger contributors to the original first hun- 
dred thousand at Decatur were the following : 

Orlando Powers $ 10,000 

Thomas T. Roberts 5,000 

William H. Ennis 5,000 

Caroline M. Powers 5,000 

One subscribed 2,140 

Three each 1,500 

Eighteen each 1 ,000 

Among those subscribing to the Synod's first hundred 
thousand were : 

Mrs. E. Thornton, Petersburg, Ind $ 20.000 

Mrs. S. E. Davidson, Mt. Zion 7,000 

A. R. Scott, Bethany 5,000 

Mrs. E. J. Stansberry, Gibson 13,000 

Mrs. Lydia Phillips, Danvers 12,000 

Seven others one thousand each 7,000 

Among the bequests secured directly or indirectly by 
the College Commission of the Cumberland Presbyterian 
Church and paid into the endowment fund later were the 

Estate of J. G. Wheeler $ 25,000 

W. H. Harvey, Washington 10,615 

W. H. Wallace, Mt. Zion 10,000 

J. E. Rouse, Gays 40,000 

$ 85,615 
The Commission also paid into the College treas- 
ury interest on its pledge of fifty thousand as 
explained 15,000 



The Commission and a Citizens' Committee, after spend- 
ing much time in negotiating with the Board of Trustees of 
Lincoln University with reference to a union of the two in- 
stitutions, agreed upon certain amendments to the charter 
of the University, which provided that it should change its 
name to Lincoln College and along w r ith the proposed Deca- 
tur College and Industrial School constitute The James Mil- 
likin University as the legal successor of Lincoln Univer- 
sity ; that the Board of Trustees of the University should 
be appointed by the three synods named, practically in the 
same manner as the trustees of Lincoln University had been 
appointed ; and that each college should be governed by a 
local board of managers appointed by the said Board of 
Trustees, in conjunction with the President of the Univer- 
sity. They also defined the rights and privileges of each 
college and specifically set forth the duties of each board and 
of the President of the University. 

The amended charter went into operation on its adop- 
tion, April 30, 1901. The members of the first Board of 
Trustees were as follows : W. J. Darby, Indiana, president ; 
W. C. Outten, Illinois, vice-president; H. E. Starkey, Illi- 
nois, secretary; S. E. Walker, Illinois, treasurer; A. C. 
Boyd, J. T. Foster, E. G. King, A. H. Mills, A. W. Hawkins, 
W. T. MofTett, F. E. Bell, R. M. Tinnon and W. S. Phil- 
lips, all of Illinois; J. E. Williamson, Indiana; and R. L. 
Vannice, Iowa. 

The new board of managers for the Decatur College and 
Industrial School organized on June 14, 1901. The mem- 
bership was as follows: I. R. Mills, president; A. R. Scott, 
vice-president ; S. E. Walker, secretary ; O. B. Gorin, treas- 
urer ; T. T. Roberts, W. J. W r ayne, A. R. Montgomery, Peter 
Loeb, T. A. Powers, J. K. McDavid, C. S. Needham. 

Dr. A. R. Taylor, president of the State Normal of Kan- 
sas, formerly a member of the faculty of Lincoln University, 
was elected president, and he assumed the duties of the office 
on July 1, 1901. 

In company with Mr. Millikin and Mr. Peter Loeb, chair- 
man of the building committee, we visited several of the 
leading institutions of the country for the purpose of study- 


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ing their plans, buildings and equipment. The board hav- 
ing definitely located the college in Oakland Park, enlarged 
by tracts on north and west respectively, adopted the Eliza- 
bethan style of architecture as most appropriate for the situ- 

The corner stone of the Liberal Arts building was laid 
by the Masonic fraternity on June 12, 1902, Grand Master 
George M. Moulton officiating. The address was delivered 
by Dr. W. H. Penhallegon, of Decatur. 

The total cost of the four initial buildings including the 
power house proper equipment was $216,000. Thirty thou- 
sand dollars additional was expended for the equipment of 
the other buildings. 

The buildings were dedicated on June 4, 1903, with im- 
posing ceremonies, the dedicatory address being given by 
President Theodore Roosevelt. A vast throng attended these 
exercises, the occasion being one of great interest to the city 
and vicinity as well as to many friends from abroad. 

While seriously considering the call to the Presidency 
of Millikin, I came to Decatur to look the situation over with 
friends, especially with Mr. and Mrs. Millikin. In discuss- 
ing the ideals in their minds, the former said that he expected 
to set apart his entire estate for the support of the college 
at Decatur and would do so if the venture was successful. 
I asked what he meant by that expression, and he replied : 

"If in the course of five or six years you have five or 
six hundred students and become recognized as one of the 
high class colleges in the Mississippi Valley, I shall regard 
that as a success." That goal easily became mine as a mini- 
mum, for had I expected less there was no reason for my 
coming to Decatur. 

Just before the opening in September, 1903, Mr. Milli- 
kin called in Mr. Loeb and advised boarding up the west end 
of the main corridor, shutting of! the engineering hall, for 
he was sure it would not be needed. He replied, "Wait and 
see." Mr. Millikin also asked me whether it would not be 
wise. My correspondence and applications for entrance as- 
sured me of over 300 to start with and I comforted him by 



practically the same response. A week later we realized that 
more room for class and laboratory work was already needed. 

The exercises of the opening day, September 15, 1903, 
were attended by a large company of friends and prospective 
students, University and College officials occupying the plat- 
form. Mr. and Mrs. Millikin with some personal friends 
occupied the east box. Mrs. Taylor with some interested 
friends, was in the President's box on the west. 

The enthusiasm ran high as Honorable I. R. Mills, Presi- 
dent of the board of managers, opened the program with con- 
gratulations and encouraging prophecies for the future of 
the new institution. Others followed in a similar vein with 
assurances of cooperation and support. 

My address was devoted chiefly to the ideals and the 
plans for the year, closing with this summary : 

"This college stands for higher planes of scholarship, for 
loftier ideals of manhood and womanhood,, for the dignity of 
all labor, for the preservation and maintenance of the institutions 
which have been the bulwark of society and the crowning glory 
of our modem civilization. Its creed will be the common creed 
of the best minds and the best blood of the race; its mission to 
contribute as may be in its power to the promotion of all that is 
best among men." 

In the meantime I had been "taking account of stock" 
as to the probable number of students crowding up through 
the gallery almost to the ceiling and feeling confident of 
the result of our active canvass of the field, I stepped for- 
ward and asked all present who intended to enroll in our 
classes to stand. The applause following was so infectious 
that as a friend expressed it, "the roof seemed to shake." The 
tellers appointed reported to me and I turned to Mr. Millikin, 
recalling his statement that if in five or six years our attend- 
ance should reach that many hundred, he would be satisfied. 
I then introduced to him 562 students waiting to matriculate. 

He could not restrain the tears as he stood facing that 
goodly company and bowing quietly resumed his seat. As 
we rose to pass out he said to Mr. A. H. Mills, one of the 
managers, equally pleased with the rest of us: "Now it is 

r 60 i 


up to the faculty." It was a greater day for our benefactor 
than for all the rest of us combined. 

The total enrollment for the first year was 712; for the 
second year it was 764, representing 23 different states and 
territories and 163 cities and towns, each succeeding year 
showing substantial increase with a more mature and respon- 
sive body of students. 

[61 1 




The foregoing story would be very incomplete without 
a further word concerning his devoted wife, who was his 
daily companion and counselor for over fifty years. 

As already stated, Mrs . Millikin's father, Samuel M. 
Aston, Avas a prominent evangelist in Eastern Tennessee, 
having united with the Cumberland Presbyterians in their 
alienation from the Presbyterian Church during the Great 
Revival of 1810-30. 

On account of the urgent demands for evangelists in so 
many quarters, the new organization licensed a large num- 
ber of young men whose education was limited, but whose 
ability seemed supported by their confidence in being called 
to such service. The Nashville presbytery sent several men 
on evangelical tours, and in 1824 Mr. Aston was delegated 
to go up into Eastern Tennessee along with another kindred 
spirit, spending, it appears, about six years in successful work, 
largely in that section. He is described as "a strong thinker, 
out-spoken, independent, rather blunt in his utterances, fear- 
less and fully persuaded that God was with him. While his 
mate could make people weep, he could wield strong argu- 
ments that w r ould convince the gain-sayers." 

Many of these pioneer preachers wore homespun cloth- 
ing and were often ridiculed, even by the clergy of the mother 
church, but their preaching resulted in the establishment of 
many congregations almost everywhere they went. 

His fame extended to other states, and Cumberland 
Presbytery gave him a letter of dismission and recommenda- 
tion to the Pennsylvania churches, where he desired to make 
his permanent home. He soon became an influential factor 
in organizing those vigorous churches in Washington and 
adjoining counties, which founded Waynesburg College, and 
sent out hundreds, perhaps thousands, of consecrated min- 
isters and laymen to build churches and schools throughout 



the Central West. He was admitted to membership in Wash- 
ington Presbytery at its organization in 1832. 

In 1835 several ministers from Pennsylvania were sent 
to Ohio to organize congregations, among them being Mr. 
Aston, who held a profitable series of meetings at Jacobs- 
ville, and organized one there. 

It was but natural, being from the South, that the only 
daughter, Anna Bernice, should be sent to the Washington 
Female Seminary, for the completion of her education, where 
she graduated in 1854. 

In 1855 the church at Mt. Zion, Macon County, 111., in- 
vited Mr. Aston to become its pastor. He accepted the call, 
and the family settled on an eighty-acre farm which he pur- 
chased a short distance northwest of the village, a very com- 
mon thing for pioneer ministers to do in those days. The 
daughter on her scholastic record at the Seminary, was en- 
gaged to teach in the village school. 

Mr. Millikin, having come to Decatur about this time, 
often attended the parties and lyceums of those days, where 
he was warmly welcomed, and highly esteemed. He occa- 
sionally engaged in the debating contests, being well informed 
on many subjects discussed. He made some reputation in 
the spelling contests, and having had an interesting experi- 
ence in transferring his home from Pennsylvania to Illinois, 
it was but natural that the comely and well-educated Anna, 
from his native town, should soon beget an acquaintance 
with this young Othello that called out the stories of his 
life as a shepherd and as a stockman in the wilds of the Prairie 
state, still then a kind of a "Woolly West." 

There is a legend that Mr. Millikin's sisters, fellow stu- 
dents in the Washington Seminary with Miss Aston, wrote 
Brother Jim of her rare qualities, and urged an early ac- 
quaintance, if nothing more. They regarded her as quite a 
desirable sister-in-law. 

At any rate, he easily won her, and being practically 
thirty years of age, he lost no more time in waiting thru a 
long engagement. She herself was about twenty-five, and 
the chronicler states that on New Year's day, 1857, Mr. Mil- 
likin took the Rev. Erastus W. Thayer, pastor of the Pres- 




byterian Church at Decatur, out to the Aston home, and 
in the presence of a small, but select company of friends 
the nuptials were duly solemnized without delay. Her father 
had died on November 17, 1856, hence the call for services 
of another minister. Within fifteen minutes the bridal party 
was on its way to Decatur, and the Illinois Central train 
was soon speeding along with them to Chicago. 

For a year or more, after their return, they had rooms 
at the old Revere House in Decatur, and then set up house- 
keeping in an attractive cottage on the northeast corner of 
William and Edward Streets, living there until they built 
and moved into the new home on Millikin Place in 1876. 

She and Mr. Millikin became pretty good comrades, and 
travelled much in this country and abroad, improving every 
opportunity to inspect notable buildings and to become ac- 
quainted with the best in art, both in private collections 
and in worth-while museums. The finish and the furnish- 
ing of this new home were unexcelled in artistry in the entire 
city for long years afterward, making it naturally a popu- 
lar place for the meetings of the "Art Class," composed of 
some rare spirits hereabouts who made the study of art a 
serious business, a few of whom still remain and are 
continually reinforced by kindred women, with their class 
home in an upper room in the Art Institute. 

Under Mrs. Millikin's personal direction, Millikin Place 
soon became the most attractive beauty spot in Decatur, and 
will always be a monument to her rare taste and untiring 
devotion to her home. 

Mrs. Millikin's mother, Hetty Bartlett Aston, made her 
home with her daughter as the Millikins went to house- 
keeping in their home at Millikin Place. She was in poor 
health for many years and practically had no intimate friends 
in the city tho cared for with tender solicitude until her de- 
mise in 1886. 

The Millikins were good livers and great readers as well 
as great travellers and spent much time in their cozy library 
where their penates really presided and ruled. Both of them 
loved their home, and until their later years were generous 

[66 1 


entertainers — brilliant lawn fetes, as well as indoor receptions 
being still recalled with pleasure by their old-time friends. 

The annual commencement fetes for the University peo- 
ple, given on their lovely lawn for several years, was a most 
popular social event, greatly enjoyed by the gracious host 
and hostess themselves as well as by their guests. 

Following Mr. Millikin's death, Mrs. Millikin hesitated 
to continue them, but one spring morning in the following 
year, as I was calling at the home, she most feelingly spoke 
of those formerly given, and asked whether I thought it would 
be appropriate and acceptable for her to resume them at the 
coming commencement. On my assurance that we had been 
hoping she might feel that she could do so, she was deeply 
touched, saying that she had thought that there was nothing 
for her to live for after Mr. Millikin was gone, but that if 
she could be of some service it would gratify her. I sug- 
gested that she permit Mrs. Taylor and Dean Valentine to 
relieve her of much of the details and responsibilities, which 
she consented to do, and the event was a very enjoyable 
one altho her strength was heavily taxed at times. 

Definite sources of information concerning Mrs. Millikin's 
father's ancestors are not available. That they were Eng- 
lish is most probable, for the family name, Aston, was derived 
from Aston in Cheshire, England, and borne by succeeding 
generations since the time of Henry II in the Twelfth Cen- 
tury with varying spellings in the different branches, as 
Aston, Astone, Ashton, Asahton and Ayston, due likely to 
illiteracy, carelessness, or whimsicality in certain families. 

It has been borne by a goodly line of distinguished 
Britons, including great scholars, scientists, jurists, diplo- 
mats, warriors, prelates, authors, dramatists, etc. One of 
them, Sir Edward Aston, was one of the richest men in all 
England in the Sixteenth Century and another, Sir Richard 
Aston, served for some time in the Eighteenth Century as 
Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, and another, a William George 
Aston, born near Londonery, Ireland, in 1841, became a 
famous Irish philologist with honors from Belfast Univer- 
sity, and served long and well in England's foreign service. 
This seems to indicate the existence of a line of Astons in 



Ireland for some years tho whether her father, brilliant man 
tho he was, traced his lineage to an English or Irish an- 
cestry is not clear. As he grew up among the English de- 
scendants in the Cumberland Mountains of Eastern Tennes- 
see, who were protestants and Presbyterians, the presump- 
tion is strongly in favor of English forbears. 

Mrs. Aston's nationality seems wholly veiled, tho it was 
likely English of the protestant persuasion. Her acquaint- 
ances and friends speak of her as well educated and pos- 
sessed of many excellent social qualities, a woman of high 
personal character, a consecrated Christian, devoted to her 
family and church. 

So with such a heritage, the daughter, Anna Bernice 
Aston, in graduating from the Seminary at Washington, 
Pennsylvania, was an unusually well equipped woman for 
the middle of the last century. All of her intimate associ- 
ates agree upon this point and upon her vision and leader- 
ship in community activities of many kinds. In the Soldiers' 
Aid Society she was especially active, and as a member of 
the First Presbyterian Church took a prominent part in its 
various enterprises. She was a charter member of the Deca- 
tur Woman's Club, and together with Mrs. Ira N. Barnes 
and Mrs. A. T. Hill, took the initiative in organizing the Art 
Class in January, 1880, of which she was always a loyal par- 
ticipating member. 

From their arrival in Decatur the Millikins were gener- 
ous contributors to community enterprises in Macon County, 
especially to church buildings and to charitable organizations 
in the city. Mrs. Millikin w r as one of the promoters and 
organizers of the Macon County Industrial School for Girls, 
which was incorporated February 26, 1890, tho not one of 
its formal incorporators. 

It had no fixed habitat nor employed teachers however, 
the instruction being given mostly by the members and vol- 
unteer instructors at designated places accessible to the 

On September 14, 1892, a petition was sent to Spring- 
field for a charter for the incorporation of the Anna B. Mil- 
likin Home with the expressed object of caring for aged 



women and dependent children. It was signed by Mrs. Mil- 
likin and Mesdames Catto, LeForgee, Roberts and Durfee. 
The same year Mr. Millikin bought in on a mortgage the 
Old Lake, then the AYorking-Man's, Hotel standing on the 
corner of Sangamon and Lowber Streets, and deeded it to 
the Home Trustees, which they occupied for nearly ten years, 
accomplishing much good and expanding its sphere of use- 

On February 7, 1893, a joint meeting of the two organi- 
zations above mentioned was held to consider the advisa- 
bility of uniting, as they were trying to do practically the 
same work. The consolidation was accomplished and a char- 
ter secured under the name of The Anna B. Millikin Home 
and Macon County Industrial School for Girls, the object 
being to care for aged women and dependent children. Its 
success awakened general interest among the people, and 
when in 1900 Mr. Millikin proposed to give $10,000 for the 
erection of a new and modern building on a three-acre tract 
which he owned across east from Oakland Park, provided 
the citizens would raise an equal amount, they responded 
very promptly, raising the full sum required. He soon saw 
that an adequate building would require a larger amount, 
and added $5,000 more, thus enabling the trustees to erect 
the beautiful and commodious building which the Home 
occupies since 1901, — for a quarter of a century in successful 
operation, a delightful refuge for homeless girls and aged 
women, a noble charity in this busy city. 

During the rest of her life, Mrs. Millikin was an active 
or honorary director, giving much time to the development 
and shaping of its policy, she and Mr. Millikin contributing 
generously to its support. The Trustees of the Estate con- 
tinue an annual allowance and are sympathetically interested 
in its work. 

That the Millikins were mutually devoted to these recip- 
ients of their benefactions was well known; indeed, the loca- 
tion of this Home across the street from Oakland Park which 
he had some years before purchased as a site for his proposed 
college, illustrates how intimately they planned together for 
their cherished public benefactions. 

[69 J 



Her education and experience in so many constructive 
activities in Decatur, well-fitted her to enter intelligently 
and sympathetically into Mr. Millikin's plans for the estab- 
lishment of an institution of learning of the advanced modern 
type which he had been nursing since his youth. 

They two were one in the proposition for a college which 
he made to the city of Decatur and the Cumberland Pres- 
byterian Church, as indeed they had been all along in dream- 
ing and planning for its establishment. 

While neither of them was disposed to lead in working 
out the plans for the construction of the College buildings, 
we found her ideas quite helpful in certain minor architectural 
details. When, however, they offered to erect a woman's 
dormitory, we were pleased to have them, especially Mrs. 
Millikin, take the initiative in developing plans and specifi- 
cations with the architect, tho they desired to have us advise 
with them freely, and to look after details of construction. 

In a quiet way it was understood that it was her contri- 
bution to the building program, hence our desire that it should 
bear the name of Aston in honor of her father. Tho its 
designation was delayed at Mr. Millikin's request, he said 
that after he was gone we had liberty. She never lost interest 
in its maintenance and management, her last visit to the 
campus being to inspect its condition with me and advise 
concerning certain repairs. She took great satisfaction in 
the beautiful effect produced by the whole campus outlay 
of buildings, including the Home, saying one day that she 
and Mr. Millikin had not seen in all their travels any College 
group that pleased them so much. Mr. Millikin also said 
that he desired all future buildings to be of the same general 

It was a fitting climax to all her beneficent services to 
the community that she should leave the old homestead, so 
expressive of the cherished ideals of her full life, for the 
development of an Art Institute in which exhibits and in- 
struction should be combined for quickening and stimulating 
the art instinct among all classes of people, and thus lift 
them up to higher planes of living and enjoyment. 

Mrs. Millikin was the leading spirit of the Art Class and 

[71 ] 


by her enthusiasm and encouragement helped it to bridge 
over times of slackening interest. Its anniversary was often 
celebrated by a big dinner in her home at which she usually 
presided, keeping things a-going by her wit and skillful man- 
agement. Some photographs of such an occasion are highly 
prized by the members, one of them being in the Class Room 
at the Institute. 

She served as president for several terms and many 
more as secretary, being especially felicitous in writing up 
the minutes, which she often did in rhyme, making their read- 
ing highly enjoyable. Whether in prosody or prose, how- 
ever, they were models of diction and elegance, as the records 
on deposit in the Art Institute library clearly show. She 
was quite happy in a poetical way, as several fragments prove, 
and it is to be deplored that some of her poems were not 
published for preservation. Specimens are attached at the 
close of this chapter. 

Her artistic tastes have already been mentioned, but 
it should not be overlooked that she was also an artist of 
considerable merit herself, having done some worth-while 
things in crayon and oil at different times, courses in which 
she evidently pursued in the Washington Female Seminary. 

All of these things and more confirm the estimate of 
her associates thru her palmier days that she was a woman 
of unusual refinement, brilliant and accomplished, living her 
life with a vision, an inspiration to all who knew her, resource- 
ful, untiring, whose place in Decatur's history will always 
be held in grateful recognition. 

Both of the Millikins were seriously afflicted for many 
of the later years of their lives, but it was known only to 
personal friends that their winter trips to Florida were not 
for pleasure only, and that they were dependent upon a physi- 
cian or a more or less permanent masseur and masseuse for 
that measure of strength that enabled them to give much 
attention to social affairs, tho able to manage their personal 
matters fairly well to the end. 

They were even compelled to curtail their attendance 
at University functions except to a very few more important 
ones. The last commencement Mrs. Millikin attended in- 


eluded the noon alumni dinner, at which she seemed more 
alert and interested than usual and her conversation some- 
what more vivacious, apparently appealing for sympathetic 
intercourse with those present. 

As usual, shortly after commencement she came out to 
inspect Aston Hall with me and advise concerning certain 
needed repairs and improvements. After going over the first 
floor, I found her very much exhausted and urged her not 
to attempt to go farther, assuring her that I knew her wishes 
and would carry them out fully. She acquiesced and we 
walked slowly out to await her hostler's coming. He delayed, 
however, and noticing her strenuous efforts to compose her- 
self, I urged her to let me drive her home in my car. She 
gently declined and excused me with a gracious word of 
appreciation and soon drove out of the quiet forest campus, 
the climax of all their life dreams and plans, for the last time. 

A few days later Mrs. Millikin was reported as seriously 
ill, and tho cared for with devoted solicitude by Mr. Porter 
Millikin and experienced nurses, gradually lost her little 
remaining strength and went to sleep July 29, 1913, in her 
eightieth year. 

The funeral rites were held in the home she loved so 
well, which was elaborately decorated with choice floral em- 
blems from many personal friends, from organizations of 
which she was a member, from the Bank, the Trustees of 
the Millikin estate, and from the Trustees of the University 
and Board of Managers of the College of which she had from 
their organization been an honorary member, and also from 
the Anna B. Millikin Home board. 

Representatives of the University and the Millikin Bank 
served as pallbearers. The music was presented by the choir 
of the First Presbyterian Church of which she had been an 
active member for over fifty years. 

Dr. W. H. Penhallegon, her pastor and devoted friend 
for nearly a quarter of a century, delivered a simple and 
feeling tribute to her memory, in part as follows: 

"Some die readily enough; their individuality is so 
plastic and their character so negative that you come to 
regard them as mere abstractions while they live, and do 



not miss them much when they go. They drop out of life 
without causing a stir and their going leaves no perceptible 
vacancy. But there are those whose hearts are so big, minds 
so active, and lives so full of good works that their going 
leaves the world poorer. It is such an event — such a loss — 
that has called us together today. 

"Mrs. Millikin needs no eulogy from me; it is being 
pronounced by those who knew her best. We think of her 
as an unostentatious, sincere, kindly, loyal woman, 'who 
went about doing good.' Her plans for the welfare and 
happiness of others were large and generous. If frugality 
was one of her characteristics — if she denied herself luxur- 
ies to which she was entitled and might have enjoyed, it was 
that others should have them. That she had a deep and 
abiding interest in all that made for human welfare, her 
friends and acquaintances knew full well; and if in her sym- 
pathies and sacrifices she seemed partial, it w T as, as you will 
testify, that she might be helpful to children and young 

"She was a lover of nature, was interested in 'God's 
out of doors.' The flowers, foliage, and trees were to her a 
lure and a joy. She was a lover of art; pictures and statuary 
appealed to her strongly, and from their companionship she 
derived continuous pleasure. She loved God; the atmosphere 
of the home in which she was reared was Christian, and 
this not only gave tone and character to her life, but explains 
also the whole structure of that life, and revealed the spirit 
by which it was compacted and controlled. Her life w r as 
true, honored and happy. We are all glad that it was spared 
until the golden sunset." 

She had some time before approved plans for the family 
mausoleum in Greenwood Cemetery, and found much com- 
fort in its completion in time to see Mr. Millikin's casket 
and those of her parents installed in it, theirs having been 
transferred on September 6, 1912. Her own crypt was awaiting 
her coming and she was satisfied. 

Her will provided that the old homestead, worth ap- 
proximately $100,000, with its art treasures and the lovely 
grounds should be devoted to the development of an art 
collection and a school of instruction, under the auspices 
of an Art Association or of the James Millikin University, 
as the trustees appointed by her may elect. They were the 
same as those of the Millikin estate. 



In addition to the real property, she set apart an accumu- 
lated fund of many thousand dollars for the purpose of assist- 
ing in the inauguration and maintenance of the Art Institute. 

Her will also gave certain instructions concerning loca- 
tion and preservation of the furniture and art treasures and 
of the buildings themselves. Thus does she live and inspire 
her adopted city with one of the consuming ambitions of her 
full life. 

The University authorities, on the advice of the head of 
the Art Department and the President of the College, did 
not think the establishment of the Institute as a feature of 
the college feasible at the time on account, chiefly, of the 
distance from the campus. 

In the meantime, as Mrs. Taylor and I were including 
inspection of many art institutes in our "Seeing America 
Tour," we discovered the attractive Sweet Gallery and School 
in Portland, Maine, which was organized in accordance with 
the provisions of Mrs. Sweet's will, strikingly similar in 
essentials to those of Mrs. Millikin's, which I reported to 
Dr. S. E. McClelland, chairman of the Estate Trustees. 

In reply he stated that her trustees would be pleased 
to have me submit a plan for an organizaiton here. This I 
did on my return in 1915, but the World War being then on 
in full blast they did not believe it wise to attempt anything 
at that time. 

Some choice spirits representing several organizations 
in the city, held conferences from time to time, however, in 
an effort to devise a plan of organization, but our entrance 
into the world war absorbed all minds and postponed fur- 
ther steps — the Red Cross occupying the building for awhile. 

At the close of the war, a few of us representing the 
organizations already interested, met and formulated a plan 
in general accordance with the outline which I had already 
submitted, and perfected a temporary organization with in- 
structions to apply for a charter. 

The incorporators were W. F. Hardy, J. O. Engleman, 
A. R. Taylor, Mrs. Charles G. Powers, Mrs. Delia P. Gush- 
ard, and twenty-two others. The charter was secured, and 
the following were elected the first directors of The Decatur 




Institute of Civic Arts : A. R. Taylor, Mrs. Effie R. Powers, 
Clarence A. Wait, Edward P. Irving, Andrew M. Kenney, 
Robert Mueller, James O. Engleman, Mrs. Delia P. Gushard, 
and Warren F. Hardy. 

On April 22, 1919, they met and organized by electing 
the first three named, President, Vice-President and Secretary, 
and Smith E. Walker, Treasurer. 

Being now ready for business, a formal conference was 
arranged and held with the Trustees of the Anna B. Millikin 
estate, at which they agreed to lease the homestead to the 
Institute for a period of five years and contribute the sum 
of $2,500 each year on condition that our board raise a similar 
amount. More than that was raised by membership fees in 
sums ranging from $1.00 to $100. A large sum was spent 
on repairs and modifications of the residence building, a new 
electric lighting system, etc. 

A room on the second floor was assigned to the Art Class 
as its home, one to the Daughters of the American Revolu- 
tion, and one to the Decatur and Macon County Historical 
Society, in which appropriate exhibits are gradually being 
installed, and which are worth-while adjuncts of the Institute. 

On its very first opening loan exhibit, the attendance 
was a happy surprise and with each recurring display, whether 
a loan, or by the University Art Department, the High School, 
St. Theresa Academy, The Art Guild, or other organizations, 
the permanent value of the Institute to this community has 
been increasingly emphasized by thousands of visitors each 

Floral exhibits have proved exceedingly popular. It has 
greatly stimulated art interest in many lines by the offer 
of cash prizes to students in the schools named and by offer- 
ing lectures and instruction in the excellent studio provided 
in the brick barn nearby. It makes an effort to purchase 
a new art piece by some well-known artist each year for 
the permanent exhibit which is already very creditable, as 
many connoisseures have assured us. It has inherited a 
dozen or more fine art pieces from the former Decatur Muni- 
cipal Art League, and by providing superior display con- 
veniences in the way of tables, cases and wall space, by 

f 77 1 


courses of lectures on art topics by experts, has made a place 
for itself in Decatur. Several educational and social organi- 
zations give receptions in the Institute building from time 
to time ; community sings and band concerts four or five 
evenings during the mid-summer months bring together as 
many as two thousand delighted people on the beautiful and 
well-lighted lawn, the whole rapidly making the Institute 
an increasingly popular Community Center. 

The income from membership fees for the first six years 
has been about $16,000 and from the Trustees of the Millikin 
Estates nearly the same. 

The Institute has continued to improve its facilities for 
its exhibits, and to make the same increasingly attractive. 
It has improved the grounds and offers in its tennis courts 
opportunity for lovers of the game to occupy them at all hours 
of the day. 

The lease of the homestead for another five years was 
recently secured with a more advantageous agreement about 
income at the expiration of which it is expected a permanent 
lease may be arranged that the larger plans of the Institute 
Board may begin to realize in something increasingly tang- 
ible and proportionate to the vision of its founder, and to 
the needs of our rapidly growing and progressive city. 

A Centennial Poem 

This poem was read at the Centennial meeting of the 
Decatur Art Class and published by the request of friends: 

Time's cycles have revolved for us one 
Hundred years. The buds have come, the flowers 
Have bloomed, the showers of brilliant autumn 
Leaves, the whitening fields of winter days 
Have come and gone, one hundred times. 

% % % H 5 % 

The cycles of one hundred years, have brought 
To us a vast domain from sea to sea: 
From broad palm lands of the southern skies 
To the great glaciers of Alaska's shores; 
A clime unrivaled by the world. 
No skies more blue, no suns so bright. 
Responding to the will of man, our hills and lofty 
Mountains empty forth one third of all the 



Metals of the earth. The many looms and 

Shuttles of the busy mills, embower'd 

With trees upon the silvery streams, turn 

Out at least one fourth as all the mills on 

Earth. The fields of waving corn and wheat, and 

All the food that springs from soil so rich. 

Our teeming lakes, and rivers broad, on whose clear 

Waters sail unnumbered craft, outrank 

The world: our stripes and stars float undisturbed 

On every sea, in every clime. 

Freedom's great genius rules with gentle hand our press, our 

Schools — no sex or color — race or tribe unwelcome here. 

And when two great worlds 

Are bound in one, and hand clasps hand across 

The straits, our innate genius will throw forth the binding 

Looks down our Washington 
Upon us here today? Proud be the Nation 
Of her Hero Son, — proud be the State that gave 
Him birth, — proud be the people of his native land. 
Our Nation's problem and the world's is solved — 
And freedom born of Heaven is ours. 

Anna B. Millikin. 
From Secretary's records of the Art Class. 

March 19th, 1881. 

T'was a miserable day, the last time we met, 

The streets were all muddy, the crossings were wet, 

It drizzled and rained, and the wind did blow, 

But before we came home it had turned to snow. 

The beautiful snow, like a mantle of white 

Hid all things ungainly completely from sight. 

Notwithstanding all this, I will say as I pass, 

Nine ladies were there, who belong to the class, 

With umbrellas and shawls, rubber cloaks if you choose, 

But who is afraid when they have a gum shoe? 

The lesson was Raphael, his wonderful skill, 

Creating immortal pictures at will, 

Madonnas and frescoes, cartoons came in 

For tapestries, such as are made in Gobelin. 

Mrs. Greene was our critic, quite perfect were we. 

Yet she noticed some errors — sans ceremonaie — 

The corrections were made on the proper names — 

This shows also improvement, if we only take pains. 

Six notes of excuse were handed in, 

[79 1 


Which releases the ladies from paying the tin. 
Adjourned to meet as I see you all know, 
At Mrs. Walston's home, on N. Main row. 

Mrs. C. E. Roberts, President. 
Mrs. Millikin, Secretary. 

Report of the Session of the Art Class commencing Nov. 
6th, 1880, and ending March 26th, 1881. 

It has been said, "The more things thou learnest to know 
and to enjoy, the more complete and full will be for thee 
the delight of living." This sentiment is appreciated by every 
lady of our class. We look upon the wonderful pictures of 
the old masters with a newer, deeper interest, since we have 
learned something of their history. The interest of our mem- 
bers in the subject of Art, has not been of transient duration, 
but has apparently increased as the months have rolled 'round, 
and, if for any reason a lady has resigned her membership, 
we find another knocking at the door, ready, nay anxious, 
to join our circle. As a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, 
so our example has infused a spirit of inquiry and study 
among the ladies of our city and already two other bands 
of students are emulating our example. During our session 
of five months we have assembled together twenty afternoons. 
The winter, which is just making its adieus to us, will be 
recorded as one of the coldest ever known, yet the beautiful 
snow has not fallen so rapidly, or covered the earth to such 
a depth, as to prevent a meeting, — torrents of rain and gusts 
of wind have been powerless to prevent an assemblage of 
the Class, and it has always met again when the hour came 
'round, whether in storm, in sunshine, or in rain. 

We adjourned December 18th and reassembled January 
8th. Our weekly attendance has averaged fourteen. At the 
beginning of the term we commenced with "Roman Sculp- 
ture from Augustus to Adrian" — passing quite thoroly thru 
the part of our topic book devoted to this subject — complet- 
ing which we next took up painting, commencing with 
"Painting in Egypt and Asia" — the first historical knowledge 
which we have of this beautiful art — and today we have "The 
great Venetian colorists and modern realists." We have 
passed over a space of thirty-seven pages — perhaps we have 

[80 1 


not advanced as rapidly as we might desire, certainly we 
have been no more thorough than necessary. The mere men- 
tion of the subject of some of our lessons is sufficient proof 
of the interest of our meetings. 

May the zeal of our ladies never grow less, and may 
the time soon arrive when it shall be said of a lady, not 
that she conducts a meeting as well as a man, but she con- 
ducts a meeting better than a man, and not that she knows 
as much as a man, but that she knows more than a man. 

Mrs. James Millikin, Secretary. 

The Millikins' keen interest in the work and growth of 
the University continued to the end, their chief concern being 
for a larger endowment and an increasing sphere of useful- 
ness for this fond dream of Mr. Millikin's busy years from 
his youth onward. 

Sir Christopher Wren, the greatest of English architects, 
commissioned by Charles II, began the construction of the 
famous St. Paul's Cathedral in London in 1675 and saw his 
son lay the last brick in it thirty-five years later. The tablet 
over the north entrance contains this inscription : "Si monu- 
mentum requiris, circiwispice" — If you seek his monument, 
look about you. The appropriateness of its quotation on a 
front page of this book seems very apt. 

As one enters the portal of beautiful Greenwood Ceme- 
tery, Decatur, and turns to the right past a few handsome 
mausoleums, he is confronted at the right by one more strik- 
ingly chaste and stately, an Egyptian architectural suggestion 
with the name Millikin-Aston over the entrance, the eternal 
resting place of our beloved patron and his devoted wife 
along with her parents, the last of both families — 

Life's fitful fever over 
Sleeping the sleep that 
Knows no waking here. 

But they still live nobly and ever in the beneficent institu- 
tions which their bounty has made possible and their sympa- 

[81 1 


thetic hearts endowed for ministering to the endless pro- 
cession of the sick and needy in the attractive addition to 
the Decatur and Macon County Hospital, in affording a com- 
fortable refuge for homeless aged women and dependent chil- 
dren in the Anna B. Millikin Home, in bequeathing the beau- 
tiful old homestead for the Decatur Institute of Civic Arts, 
in erecting and furnishing the capacious and inviting Aston 
Hall for the University girls on the campus, and above all in 
the unexcelled group of buildings in Oakland Park for the 
housing of the James Millikin University with its multitudes 
of eager youth crowding its halls from year to year and in 
the generous endowment provided for its support. 

Thus their works do testify of them here and do follow 
them in the Great Hereafter! 

The custom of placing fragrant flowers — love tokens — 
on the threshold of their quiet tomb at least on memorial days 
by these beneficiaries will doubtless be continued throughout 
the coming years. 



These personal gleanings are added as throwing side 
lights on the character of our patron that may help a little 
further in visualizing him more fully. 

In 1903 James Millikin said of riches : "Augur was 
right about it when he prayed give me neither riches nor 
poverty. Riches come too late in life to be enjoyed." 

A citizen who often went to Mr. Millikin begging for 
one thing or another had never been turned down. Approach- 
ing him with a worthy cause never met rebuff. He often 
said, "What is for Decatur's good is for my good." 

"If a man understands his business it is safe to give 
him credit. I have loaned men five times what they were 
worth and never worried a minute about it. I have often 
ridden ten miles to see how a man fed his cattle, the con- 
dition of his lots and the way he put out the feed ; and if 
that man understood the business of cattle feeding he got 
the money he wanted." 

"Yes, Mr. Millikin was slow at times, but if you should 
bring a grind-stone into his room he could see further into 
it than any man I ever saw. His power of concentration 
and penetration was most unusual." 

In talking to me one day about faculty salaries, he illus- 
trated his idea by saying that if one of his bank clerks talked 
about leaving unless his pay was advanced, he paid little 
attention to it, but that if a head of a department should do 
so, he would give the request immediate consideration. While 
he believed that the laborer is worthy of his hire, the amount 
should depend on the value of his service. 



The Millikins often entertained distinguished guests in 
their home. Old-time residents often refer to the notable 
reunion of General Grant's former soldiers here in 1881, some 
forty thousand of them being present. The General was the 
guest of Senator and Mrs. Oglesby and the next most disting- 
uished visitor, General, then Senator, John A. Logan, made 
his home with the Millikins. 

Mr. Loeb, chairman of the building committee, and my- 
self kept a close watch on the progress of the construction 
of the original buildings. Mr. Millikin inspected the work 
very frequently also, calling our attention to sundry things. 
One day he was disturbed over the depth being dug for the 
foundation of the smoke stack, saying to me as he passed 
by, that we were putting a lot of money into that big hole. 
I told him that I was determined to have it strong enough 
to insure stability, but would look after it at once as they 
had about reached the limit fixed. To my surprise I found 
a bed of quicksand just being uncovered and promptly stopped 
further digging, but there never has been a crack in that 
stack except that made by lightning. 

As the contractor was putting the basement window 
frames in the wall for the Liberal Arts hall group of build- 
ings, Mr. Millikin observed that they were lower than the 
specifications as he understood them provided for, they being 
scarcely above the main street level — making the buildings 
look squatty. I called the architect's attention to the matter, 
insisting that our understanding placed them higher though 
the blueprints might show differently. They insisted that 
the engineering building on the west was already higher than 
the contour permitted and should not be lifted further. The 
contractor was unwilling to make any change as the expense 
would be too great for him to bear. Mr. Millikin came to 
the rescue by proposing to the street commissioner to lower 
the bed of the street and he would bear the expense, some 
$2,000 or more. This is the explanation of part of the ele- 
vation of the lots on the south side of West Main. 

184 1 


Mr. Millikin Avas not very enthusiastic over the idea of 
spending much money on athletics, and yet in conversation 
with me about our football plans he said: "If I did have a 
team, I would want it to be the best in the Mississippi val- 
ley." This he said with a Scotch snap and a smile that was 
easily understood. Tho seldom seen on the field, I am cer- 
tain that he and Mrs. Millikin picked up their ears a bit every 
time the whistle blew after an athletic meet of any kind. 

He enjoyed many social games and in his later years 
usually went directly to the Decatur Club rooms after bank- 
ing hours for a game of some kind. I often found him there 
alone playing soltaire at dusk, which he promptly relinquished 
to discuss some problem of mutual interest. 

Mr. Millikin, in his keen anxiety about the outcome of 
the college venture, allowed himself to be disturbed unduly 
by some trusted friends who had very little faith in its future, 
and some few years afterwards quietly said to Dr. J. W. 
McDonald: "No one could have made me believe it pos- 
sible to build up so large an institution in so short a time," 
adding his great satisfaction at the result. 

Later, in strolling about the grounds with his cousin, 
Miss Kennedy, he joined with her quite heartily in express- 
ing satisfaction and pleasure with the whole plant and the 
rapid growth and standing which the University had attained. 

The life-like portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Millikin were 
painted by Jean Mannheim about 1899. By approval of the 
trustees of both estates, the former was assigned to the recep- 
tion room of the University and the latter to the Art Insti- 
tute, where it hangs on the wall in the Decatur Art Class 
room. Mannheim occupied rooms at the old Decatur Hotel 
then conducted by B. F. Stearnes, whose poetical talent and 
interest in art along with many social qualities gave him a 
wide acquaintance which he improved in securing many com- 
missions for his guest by prominent citizens. After complet- 
ing them, the artist migrated to Los Angeles, where he has 
become one of the great artists along the coast. 


The committee named to select the colors for Millikin 
was composed of Mesdames B. F. Stearnes, A. R. Taylor, 
Peter Loeb, and James Millikin. After considerable discus- 
sion it unanimously recommended Commodore Decatur's pen- 
nant used on his flag staff, a rich blue with white. They were 
promptly approved and were first used in the decorations of 
the boxes in the auditorium on the day of the dedication of 
the first group of buildings. Since then they have gone into 
our college poetry and song and into all kinds of pennants, 
badges, pillows, etc., as the slogan for thousands of loyal 
children. The color of the binding in this book is approxi- 
mately the Millikin blue. 

Mrs. Millikin was very methodical in everything. As 
we were having our first printing done she asked me to be 
sure to use the expletive THE so that it would always be a 
part of the institution's name, as The James Millikin Uni- 
versity, which I promised to do and noted that she followed 
us up to be sure that her request was observed. 

At the College the attendance for the opening years was 
not only surprising and gratifying to Mr. Millikin, but the 
fact that about a score of states were represented in it was 
even more so because he could not understand why students 
came from so far as Texas, Massachusetts, Oregon, Colorado, 
etc., which really was due to the character of the organization 
and to the friendship of a host of my former students who 
desired to place their own children with us. 

In looking over the specifications for the main lobby with 
me, he discovered that the wainscoting named was burlap 
and asked, why not marble? My reply was that our allow- 
ance would not permit it. He quickly replied : "That lobby 
will be the main entrance to all the groups of buildings on 
the campus for all time to come. Put it in and send the bill 
to me." This of course I promptly instructed the architect 
to do. 



He was averse to giving his own name to the University, 
thinking it might prevent large givers from helping to in- 
crease its endowment, but tacitly acceded to the desire of 
the Board of Trustees and other friends to have their way 
about it. They thought to give him a pleasant surprise, 
and without asking his consent instructed the architects to 
put it in the big stone slab over the main tower entrance. 
The stone cutter began the work one evening and was hard 
at it again about 7 A. M. when Mr. Millikin appeared and 
ordered its discontinuance forthwith. That ended it for good ! 
and "Liberal Arts Hall" took its place. 

In speaking to Mr. W. C. Outten, Mr. Millikin's confi- 
dential and personal representative on the Board of Trustees 
and my warm personal friend also one day about the course 
the president of the University was pursuing, he said: "I 
think he likes to have his own will about things too well." 
To which Mr. Outten replied: "Perhaps, but come to think 
of it, I believe that you and I have pretty strong wills our- 
selves and would never have accomplished much without 
them." Mr. Millikin's response was, "I guess that's so." 
That ended the conversation. 

He often received letters from persons seeking positions 
in the new faculty, but practically without exception he threw 
them into the waste basket, desiring to leave me free to 
select my own corps of teachers. In one case, he enclosed 
the application and having knowledge of the applicant added 
these words — "I hope she may be found worthy." I was glad 
to find her so. In another I was considering, I asked his 
advice and it was adverse, thus settling the matter." 

After my arrival at Decatur only men acceptable both to 
Mr. Millikin and myself were appointed to vacancies on the 
board of managers. He usually suggested a few names from 
which to make a choice — a practice followed in spirit by the 
estate trustees after his death. 



I have been unable to discover any particular case of 
romance in Mr. Millikin's life, tho there may have been more 
than one. His first veridical photograph at about the age 
of thirty-five reveals a very attractive face as well as a whole- 
some physique and a kindly eye. 

In the earlier years of the college it was our custom to 
give very comprehensive exhibits along in early May. They 
represented quite comprehensively the work being done in 
the various departments, especially of course in the scientific, 
art and industrial lines, and made elaborate displays on all 
the floors in the four buildings. They were very popular, 
attracting thousands of visitors. The Millikins usually spent 
a few hours inspecting them, Air. Millikin saying the first 
evening as we were rounding up a tour, "Why, this seems 
like the World's Fair." 

During the eight years of my association with our patron 
I never asked him additional allowances without a generous 
response. In making up my budget for a coming year I 
found the estimated income insufficient to meet it, and went 
to him stating the fact and saying that at least $5,000 addi- 
tional would be needed to warrant continuance of the civil 
engineering department. He promptly said he would give 
it. The following year I had the same story. He cordially 
granted the sum needed, saying "Don't go in debt." 

After the new hall for women, now Aston Hall, was ready 
for the reception of students, the new matron and myself were 
invited to the Millikin home to discuss a system of regula- 
tions for its government. I found our patrons had already 
reached an understanding on a few rules modeled after those 
of the old time women's seminaries, which were very exact- 
ing with reference to hours, visiting each other's rooms, church 
attendance and elsewhere under charge of the matron or of- 
ficial chaperons, dates for company and kindred matters, etc. 

We easily agreed upon most rules regarding other mat- 
ters, but realizing that Mrs. Millikin was undoubedly being 
prompted largely by her remembrances of those in vogue in 



her alma mater over a half century before, it required con- 
siderable discussion to convince them that the better class 
of dormitories in these days were making as few rules as 
possible, depending upon the honor and good sense of the 
young women residing in them for the maintenance of an 
esprit dc corps more desirable and more efficient in govern- 
ment and character building. 

Tho the matron feared that her prerogatives might be 
endangered, she was willing to endorse my suggestions, and 
we had little cause for modifications later. 

The register of the old McCormack House at Danville, 
Illinois, which Mr. Millikin afterwards used for a scrap book, 
contains the name of Abel Millikin, Pennsylvania, under date 
of August 12, 1853. Among the clippings pasted in the book 
were the announcement of the Millikin wedding; a very in- 
teresting and appreciative obituary of his sister, Nancy Van- 
dyke Millikin, who died September 5, 1854, in her twenty- 
first year; excerpts of Democratic party platform, 1849, and 
Republican, 1856; and other political literature including Ger- 
rit Smith's great speech explaining his vote on the Kansas- 
Nebraska bill published in the New York Tribune in 1854; 
another was a reproduction of a bitter partisan attack on 
Henry Clay from the State Register, a leading Douglas organ, 
under date of August 23, 1844, in a Decatur paper of October 
12, 1858, — all revealing his keen interest in current political 
affairs. This last slip also contained a statement showing the 
condition of the Decatur Railroad Bank at that time but 
which failed soon afterwards, Mr. Millikin occupying its office 
with his new bank in 1860. 

Puzzled to know what course to pursue about a faculty 
member who had a moral slip one day, I stated the case to 
Mr. Millikin. He replied : "You have come to the wrong 
man; I always give a man a second chance. If then he fails 
me, that is his look-out." 

In conversing about serious friction in a certain college 


and a member of its faculty, Mr. Millikin expressed himself 
very forcibly in this wise : 

"If I were a member of a faculty and could not consci- 
entiously advocate the principles for which it stands, I would 
promptly resign." 

As illustrative of Mr. Millikin's self-possession and cool- 
ness in an emergency, the following story is mostly repro- 
duced from the Review : 

One night a few years before his death he awoke to 
find a light burning in his room and himself looking into 
the muzzle of a revolver. He was compelled to lie there 
and keep his hands under the cover, the search continuing 
for several minutes, and in the meantime a brisk conversa- 
tion between him and the burglar. Not many men have had 
the pleasure of a friendly conversation with a burglar actively 
engaged in the cheerful occupation of robbing his premises. 
"IVe a little money in my pants pocket," said Mr. Millikin. 

The burglar had already found that it was less than a 

"I'm sorry I haven't anything more for you," said his 
captive, "I never have any money. The only use I have for 
money is to buy street car tickets and cigars. I draw a check 
for $5 at a time, and it is surprising how quickly $5 will go. 

"There is my watch on the mantel," was the next sug- 
gestion to the intruder. 

"Yes ; I saw that. A watch is no account to me." He 
picked it up, looked at it and laid it back, but before leaving 
put it in his pocket and took it with him. It was his final 
undoing, causing his arrest later and sentence to the peni- 

There was further talk with the burglar about the sil- 
verware in the house. He told the man he thought there 
was no solid silver there. 

"Few people buy sterling silver these days," said Millikin, 
"and if they did it would scarcely be worth the efforts of a 
high-class burglar." 

Once or twice Mr. Millikin cautioned the man about how 
he handled his gun ; it was uncomfortable to have it trained 

[90 1 


on him, not that he feared intentions, but a little careless- 
ness or nervousness might cause trouble. Before leaving the 
man told him to stay in bed and made dire threats of what 
would happen if he did not. Once after leaving the room 
he came back to see if the banker was obeying his instruc- 

One time during the interview, Mrs. Millikin appeared 
in the hall with a lighted candle but was promptly instructed 
to return to her bed, which she did without delay. In count- 
ing up his cash loss the next morning, he found that the thief 
had secured exactly forty-nine cents. He was amused later 
to receive a small purse from his Mt. Zion friends enclosing 
the amount in full as a sympathetic expression of their in- 
terest in him. 

Tho I was and am still opposed to compulsory Bible 
study in a college for pedagogical reasons, I was interested 
to know why Mr. Millikin was so intensely opposed to it. 

In response to my inquiry, he said : 

"One day I asked Bob Ingersoll what made him an 
agnostic. He simply replied: 'Compulsory regular reading 
of the Bible by my parents in my youth.' 

"Similar compulsion against my wishes almost set me 
adrift. I wish every student in Millikin might take it and 
hope the faculty will urge it upon them, but it should not 
be required." 

Mr. Millikin often asked me how we were getting along and 
showed keen interest in the moral and religious attitude of 
the instructors. He repeatedly said that there was no excuse 
for the existence of the College unless it exalted both. While 
granting that a majority of the faculty should preferably be 
Presbyterians, he favored representation of several denom- 
inations, but asked me to "tell them all that if they were not 
active in their own church work, we do not want them in 
Millikin. Personality should not be subservient to scientific 
and pedagogical attainments, however." 

As an example of the way in which Mr. Millikin picked 
likely young men up, the follownig is inserted here: 



I met a coal baron on a train one day who, on learning 
my relation to him, said: "I owe my success in life to that 
man. I came from the East when about eighteen years of 
age, and found odd jobs in Decatur until I got a place with 
a grain firm, who later sent me out to buy corn for them 
from the farmers in which I soon became quite expert. 

"One day a couple of town acquaintances explained a 
little business scheme to me which looked very attractive. 
They said they could get the money to float it, if I would 
sign a note with them. They would run the business and 
I could continue with the grain company, getting one-third 
the profits out of it. I fell to it at once. 

"In less than a year the 'firm' failed and the twain skipped. 
A few days later I received notification that the note I had 
signed would be due in ten days. I was there on the dot 
and was invited into Mr. Millikin's private office where lay 
the evidence of my indebtedness. After enquiring a little 
about my work as a grain buyer, he said : 

"Do you know that you cannot be compelled to pay this 

I asked, "Why not?" 

He replied, "You were a minor when you signed and 
are not legally liable." 

I said, "But what about the moral obligation?" 

"Well, that is up to you," he responded. 

"It was for $300, and all my savings in three years' hard 
work exceeded that amount very little. 

"I thought a moment and asked for the pen he held in 
his hand, tears starting from my eyes as I thought of my 
rascally partners far away. In a moment I had the note 
in my hand marked 'Paid.' 

"Then he turned to me and asked why I was not buying 
corn for myself. On replying that I had no money, he said, 
T will let you have all you want.' 

"I asked what about the security. He replied, T will take 
a mortgage on the corn you buy.' 

"In a few weeks I owed the bank $30,000 and that gave 
me my start." 



It must not be imagined that Mr. Millikin's career was 
always a bed of roses, for he had disappointments and reverses 
enough to try his metal and make him cautious for awhile. 
He learned from them like all successful men do. 

The climax of all his life-work was to be the founding 
of a great University, tho he realized later, as he confronted 
the proposition that his fortune alone was inadequate for 
the task, hence his effort to double it by offering dollar for 
dollar to Decatur and to the Presbyterian Church, a plan 
which has been also followed by the Trustees of his Estate. 

With the union of the Cumberland Presbyterian and 
Presbyterian Churches in 1906, he had great expectations of 
a prompt and generous response that would possibly enable 
him in his lifetime to see in it the leading institution of its 
kind west of the Alleghany mountains. 

It was therefore possibly the greatest disappointment of 
his life that the College Board of that great church did not 
raise a single dollar in response to his proposition to give 
the sum of $400,000 to Millikin's Endowment Fund, pro- 
vided it would duplicate the same. This was aggravated 
by the attitude of the secretary of the Board as revealed in 
their correspondence, though he authorized its renewal by 
the Trustees of his Estate. 

After the transfer of the properties of the former Cum- 
berland Presbyterian church to the United and reunited Pres- 
byterian church U. S. A., including of course the properties 
and franchises of the James Millikin University, the College 
Board in New York notified us that unless our board changed 
our regulations so as to require all students to take a course 
in Bible study, this institution would not be recognized as 
entitled to any favors from it in the way of financial aid of 
any character whatsoever. 

Dr. Robert McKenzie, President, and Dr. Dickson, Secre- 
tary of the Board, were very tenacious in this demand, the 
latter declaring that we were not a Christian College in the 
Presbyterian sense of the word. A very spicy correspondence 
arose between the Secretary and Mr. Millikin which but in- 
creased the latter's irritation, and which was not allayed when 

[93 1 


the Synod of Illinois made the same demand of all its col- 
leges expecting its support. 

In a conference one morning with me in his library, he 
declared that he would not contribute another dollar to the 
University unless the College Board would change its atti- 
tude toward Millikin. I reminded him of the fact that I had 
never had the privilege of discussing the matter with the 
Board and suggested that I be authorized to do so at its next 
meeting in New York. This he then asked me to do. Though 
I had arranged with Dr. McKenzie to be present, I was 
greatly surprised to learn that the Board was adjourning in 
another room without seeing me, and protested against such 
treatment, whereupon he stated that he had authority to 
settle the matter with me. After its adjournment, he and 
Dr. Dickson discussed it with me and I was asked to return 
the next morning. On my arrival, Dr. McKenzie submitted 
a statement reciting Mr. Millikin's conditions for further as- 
sistance to Decatur College from him and stating that as 
"all rules had their exception," the College Board would 
make one in this case and cooperate with it in its develop- 
ment as cordially as with the other colleges of the denom- 

Though Dr. Dickson announced his opposition to the 
concession, intimating that I was the real block in the way, 
I told him that Mr. Millikin had a mind of his own and was 
against required Bible study on his own initiative. 

On my return home I presented the paper to Mr. Mil- 
likin and he quietly said, "Well, that is not so bad." On a 
moment's reflection however he said, "But suppose the Board 
or Synod would later on take a notion to renew this demand, 
who would be here to defend my position?" I became very 
solicitious and replied that a clause in his will would suffi- 
ciently guard against such a move. He seemed to be pleased 
at the suggestion and when the will was opened a codicil 
to that effect was attached and his trustees given authority 
to use part of his estate for charitable purposes as well as 
educational in the city of Decatur only. 



After concession on the part of Lincoln that its charter 
should be so modified that the two colleges should constitute 
the James Millikin University with a board of fifteen trus- 
tees, each of which should have a local board of managers 
appointed by the general board, a committee of three from 
Lincoln, Frank Hoblit, J. T. Foster and one other visited 
Mr. Millikin and asked him in consideration of the financial 
benefit of the untaxable charter under which Lincoln College 
had been operating since its founding in 1865, if he did not 
feel warranted in making a substantial contribution to the 
endowment fund of Lincoln. 

Mr. Millikin was feeling quite good over the reception 
his gift to Decatur had been given, and with little delay asked 
how much they could profitably use in stimulating a recip- 
rocal response at Lincoln to erect an administration building, 
then much needed. The interview closed with a proposition 
on his part to give $50,000 to the endowment fund there on 
condition that the citizens of Lincoln and Logan county raise 
the sum of $25,000 for the proposed building. 

The committee called a meeting there at once and with 
unrestrained enthusiasm the entire community set about secur- 
ing the needed pledge which was soon accomplished. 

In the meantime Mr. Millikin came to the conclusion 
that he had made a mistake to agree to help Lincoln and was 
so fully convinced of it that he asked Mr. I. R. Mills, who had 
led the Decatur city campaign to a successful issue after it 
seemed likely to fail and had become President of the Decatur 
Board of Managers, to use his influence to secure a release 
from the Lincoln friends. Mr. Mills, however, told him that it 
was too late to attempt it for Lincoln had gone ahead in good 
faith and fulfilled its part of the contract — hence he was honor 
bound to do the same. 

One of Mr. Millikin's fears was that as Lincoln had so 
long been crippled financially it would not be able even with 
his handsome gift to recoup and that sooner or later it would 
fall into other hands and its property lost to the church and 
the University. Being conversant quite well with the whole 
situation, I suggested that he might salvage his gift by ac- 
companying it with a letter adding that its acceptance by 



the Lincoln Board must be on condition that should that 
college at any time withdraw from its connection with The 
James Millikin University the gift should revert to its 
Board of Trustees. That suggestion appeared to satisfy 
him, and I formulated the letter which he sent along with 
the funds to Lincoln's Board of Managers. The condition 
being satisfactory to them, the incident was closed. 

In reality, however, Mr. Millikin still keenly felt that 
he had made a serious mistake in diverting that large sum 
from the Decatur enterprise and asked the College Commis- 
sion to enter into a contract with him to raise $50,000 more 
in excess of the original $100,000 pledged by it, he agreeing 
on his part to duplicate it as fast as raised. Though the 
Commission did so and paid interest on that amount at the 
rate of 5% for six years into the Decatur College treasury, 
the untoward conditions involved in the proposed union of 
the Cumberland Presbyterian and Presbyterian churches made 
it impossible to meet its obligation for the principal. 

Here Mr. Millikin's generous attitude towards the mem- 
bers of the Commission in releasing them from it was char- 
acteristic of the man. 

In my browsing thru the histories of Washington and 
Fayette Counties, I came across many interesting items, espe- 
cially the recital of the part the McFarland people took in 
suppressing the great Whiskey Rebellion lasting thru the 
first three or four years following 1790, and embracing a large 
part of Western Pennsylvania on both sides of the Monon- 
gahela river up to Virginia on the South. It was caused 
by the imposition of a heavy excise tax on rum and whiskey 
by the National Government which affected thousands of 
private stills in that region. Its enforcement was accom- 
panied with great difficulty chiefly because of corruption and 
insubordination among the constabulary requiring the pres- 
ence of the State Militia and National soldiers to execute the 
laws. Colonels Daniel and Abel McFarland were especially 
active in suppressing the disorders, the former being in charge 
of large detachments of troops. In Washington County alone 
some 272 illicit private stills were taken and confiscated. 



James Millikin II — See page 8 — leaving his parents 
and friends came to America in 1771 and settled on Ten- 
Mile Creek, Amwell Tp., Washington Co., Pa. He is described 
as a very quiet inoffensive weaver by trade. His grandson 
and name-sake, our James XI, passed many pleasant hours 
with him when a lad in the loomshop filling grills for his 
grandfather's shuttles, while the weaver sang songs and told 
stories of the "Auld Country." He always claimed to be of 
pure Scotch blood and protested being called "an Irishman." 

His wife Dolly bore him eleven children and outlived 
him many years. His house was on a knoll facing Ten-Mile 
Creek a short distance away. It was of hewn logs, two stories 
of one room each, tho an addition of one room was built by 
one of his sons after his marriage. 

In his will of June 20, 1820, he bequeathed one hundred 
dollars to each of his seven children, certain named prop- 
erties to his wife Dolly, and "the plantation on which I now 
live consisting of 190 acres more or less and a 40-acre tract 
adjoining, to two sons, William and Abel," the latter becom- 
ing the father of our James XI. 

He also bequeathed certain designated personal prop- 
erties to his wife, Dolly Millikin, along with the real and 
personal estate inherited from her father. He also provided 
that after all debts and funeral expenses were paid the execu- 
tors, his wife and Isaac Buckingham, "the residue should be 
divided equally among all his children, deducting any amounts 
advanced to them as individuals as shown by his Book." 

In a codicil he added, "I do bequeath to my beloved 
wife Dolly, in addition to all the articles granted as above, 
one other feather bed and bedding and two corns." He died 
July 30, 1821. 

His brother, William I, seems to have owned land nearby 
and adjoining on the same side of the creek described in 
the patent from the State of Pennsylvania, on page 11, and 
William III and Abel, his nephews, thus became owners of 
almost a full section of good land there constituting the Mil- 
likin homesteads. 

In the letter written by William Fs father, James I, in 
1786 to James II, he sent his love to William and his family, 



but Ridlon states that after the most diligent search and the 
use of considerable money in correspondence he failed to find 
any trace of his wife or children. He died on May 6, 1800. 
He thinks possibly the following will was made by a daugh- 
ter of William I. 

"July 11, 1811. In the name of God, Amen. I will and 
bequeath to my fore sisters all my wearing apparel to be 
equally divided among them except one pair of silk gloves 
and one muslen shawl; that I allow to My Sister Dolley more 
than the rest. I will and bequeath to my brother James My 
part of the land, My Mare and Sadel and Chest and Bedd to 
pay the expenses as far as it goes, and if any remains to my 
Brother James Millikin, to pay it in consideration of the land. 
This my Last Will and Testament. In witness whereof I 
have set my hand and seal the date above written. Marey 
Millikin, her Seal Mark." 

The record says that William II, fifth son of James II, 
settled on a part of his father's homestead farm. He was 
the father of ten children and died August 10, 1845, on that 
farm, aged fifty-five years and ten months. He was famil- 
iarly known as old "Bill Millikin, the Irishman" tho really 
Scotch, and his sayings outlived his life in that locality. It 
also says that Abel Millikin, his brother, the eighth son and 
son inheritor of their father's land, and father of our James 
XI by Nancy Vandyke remained on the old homestead where 
the five children were born. His mother, Dolly, lived with 
him for many years until her death. She was very fond of 
her grandson, our James XI, who reciprocated her affection 
and special interest in him. 

Among the many prominent relatives of Mr. Millikin, 
Miss Joan Minor Kennedy of Hamilton, Ohio, to whom we 
are greatly indebted for much valuable material in this mem- 
oir, has long been recognized as one of the most accomplished 
and well known women in that state. She is the daughter 
of Joan Millikin Kennedy, daughter of Dr. Samuel Millikin, 
son of James Millikin X and his wife, Dolly McFarland 
Millikin, hence a second cousin of our James Millikin. She 
seems to have inherited many of the remarkable character- 


istics of her distinguished grandmother, which easily won 
her acquaintance and recognition in many circles. Her at- 
tractive home has long been the center of much of its intel- 
lectual and forward looking life. 

She was a great favorite of our Mr. Millikin and often 
visited in his home, sharing with him and Mrs. Millikin in 
their confidences and plans as probably with few others. She 
was deeply interested in the founding and development of 
the University at Decatur and in the Art Institute also. She 
made many warm friends here. 

She had personal acquaintance with practically all this 
line of Millikins and their kin who have lived since 1850, 
and recalls the visit of five fine big Millikin brothers — John, 
James, Andrew, Samuel, Robert and Abel — to her father's 
home in Pennsylvania in the fifties before he came to Ohio. 

She is the founder of the Hamilton Literary Club, which 
was organized in 1874. As I write this, a letter from her 
states that she is the last survivor of the Kennedy-Millikin 

She is a member of the Daughters of the American 
Revolution thru three lines : Colonel Daniel McFarland, father 
of Dollie McFarland Millikin ; Colonel John Minor, father 
of Joan Minor Millikin ; and Thomas Kennedy, father of 
Samuel Kennedy, who was the father of Robert Kennedy, 
father of Joan. 

She is also a member of the United States Daughters 
of 1812 thru Doctor Daniel Millikin, father of Joan Millikin 
Kennedy, who was staff officer to General Wingate of the 
Army of General Arthur Sinclair and of the Army of General 
Anthony Wayne. 

At her suggestion I called on some Topeka McFarlands 
in November, 1924, soon locating a Mr. Hugh McFarland, 
a lawyer in the Mulvane block. 

He explained to me that he was a son of James D. 
McFarland, a brother of Noah C. McFarland, who married 
Sarah Millikin, sister of our James Millikin. Judge Noah 
C. McFarland was a prominent citizen of Kansas, a member 
of an important commission in the Interior department at 
Washington for some time and later resident Financial Agent 



for the state of Kansas there for many years. He was born 
April 23, 1822, and died May 5, 1896. He amassed large 
properties, leaving practically all to his son, James Millikin 
McFarland, who was born in Topeka, April 10, 1851, and 
died April 24, 1924. 

Just before Noah's death he sent for Mr. Millikin to 
come and see him. After remaining some days with little 
change in the Judge's condition, he told him that he desired 
to return to Decatur and asked him if he had any special 
message for him. The Judge then asked him to care for his 
son James in his need, his name-sake. This Mr. Millikin 
promised to do. He was already a great book-lover with 
a passion for collecting rare editions of expensively bound 
books without regard to price. He was lavish in expenditures 
in other ways and the liberal patrimony left him by his father 
gradually disappeared, so that in the thirteen years elapsing 
until Mr. Millikin's death, it was evident that any further 
sum left him, large or small, would not last very long. 

Confident of such a result, Mr. Millikin instructed his 
trustees to pay him a life annuity of $1200.00 in monthly 
installments. He was sorely disappointed that it was no 
larger, explaining to his friends that he should have been 
left a half million. 

I remember having shown him thru our new buildings 
as he visited Mr. Millikin 1903-4. He expressed his warm 
admiration of the plant and the plan of organization and told 
me of his intention to leave his comprehensive and growing 
collection of books which he had told his Uncle James that 
he intended to leave to the University later. Mr. Millikin 
had explained his intentions to me and suggested that I show 
him every courtesy possible, which I am certain that I did 
not fail to do. He attended Mr. Millikin's funeral and with 
Joan Kennedy, his cousin, was entertained at dinner at our 
house. He was afflicted for many years with slight paraly- 
sis that affected his walking somewhat and which gradually 
became worse year by year, making him increasingly help- 
less, finally requiring a nurse and separate accommodations 
in a rooming house. In speaking of these matters, Mrs. 
James D. McFarland explained to me that he had become 



such a burden that she was unable to keep him in her house, 
tho she did not lose interest in him. The Masons shared in 
his care, which he appreciated greatly. 

A short time before his death he sent for Hugh Mc- 
Farland and asked him to write his will, a copy of which 
he showed me. It was very brief and provided that his 
entire library should go to the Kansas Grand Lodge of 
Masons, on condition that it would guarantee to house it 
suitably and provide for its preservation intact in perpetuity. 
He gave a few minor belongings to personal friends, and 
left the McFarland family Bible with the family record in 
it to Mrs. James D. McFarland, which she kindly showed 
me. He had already distributed the family silver and valu- 
able bric-a-brac to his intimates and relatives against the 
advice of this aunt. 

I asked Mr. McFarland, his administrator, whether he 
thought the bequest to the Masons was influenced by his 
keen disappointment over the fancied slight in the allowance 
from Mr. Millikin. He said it was possible, but reminded 
me of the care the lodge had given him. There were some 
claims against his estate amounting to some $400 or $500 
which they paid and thus increased their title to his library, 
tho the Trustees of the Millikin Estate expressed willingness 
to provide for legitimate items. 

After Mr. Millikiirs death I did not forget McFarland's 
promise and had word from time to time as to his condition 
from some friends. I wrote him once, perhaps twice, remind- 
ing him of our expectations and tried to open the way for 
a personal conference, but as he made no reply, I took it for 
granted that the books would be left to Millikin, as he had 

The State Grand Chapter was already occupying a sur- 
prisingly beautiful marble building near the State House 
Grounds and had made generous provisions for a library and 
museum, where the McFarland books were at once installed. 
There are about 5,700 volumes in it, each one revealing the 
rare literary and aesthetic taste of the owner. I could hardly 
believe my eyes as I passed from section to section and real- 
ized the great value of the collection. The Grand Lodge 



Secretary and Custodian, an intimate friend of Mr. McFar- 
land, assured me that he was an inveterate reader and had 
really read every book on the shelves, a feat that seems in- 
credible. In my disappointment I had some comfort in know- 
ing that another Millikin, tho so afflicted and unfortunate, 
had left so graceful and useful a heritage to his home city 
for the enlightenment and uplift of generations to come.